U.S. Marine Corps Dictionary

M-Z

McCawley, Charles

Eighth Commandant of the Marine Corps. Born in Pennsylvania on Jan. 29, 1827, he was named Colonel Commandant on the resignation of Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin on Oct. 31, 1876. The law making the Commandant a brigadier general had been repealed during Zeilin’s term. McCawley resigned Jan. 29, 1891 and died on Oct. 13 of that year.

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MeritoriousMast

An awards and promotions formation. From the navy tradition of gathering the crew around the main mast of the ship to deliver punishment and rewards. In the modern Marine Corps it is a written recognition of work well done and is of greater value than a Letter of Appreciation or a Certificate of Commendation.

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Miller, Samuel

Adjutant and Inspector of the Marine Corps and a Brevet Major, he served as Acting Commandant of the Marine Corps from the 2nd to the 15th of Sept. 1818. He was replaced as Acting Commandant by Brevet Major Archibald Henderson who served from Sept 16, 1818 until March 2, 1819 when Anthony Gale was appointed Commandant.

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MotorT

Motor Transport. Present and former motor transport personnel can join the USMC Motor Transport Association.

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nap and Pop

Term used to describe sharp and quick rifle drill, as would be seen when viewing the Marine Corps Silent Drill Team.

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Nine Yards

As used in “The Whole Nine Yards”, it refers to a complete belt of machine gun ammo which is 27 feet long.

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Oceanside

The civilian community outside the main gate of Camp Pendleton, CA.

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Once a Marine, Always a Marine

The motto of the Marine Corps League.

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Overhead

Naval term for ceiling.

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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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Quad 50s

An anti-aircraft weapon employed by the Army. The Geneva Convention limits anti-personnel weapons to 30 caliber, so these four 50 caliber rifles could only be used on aircraft and other equipment. R-i-i-ght! (origin) Vietnam

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Rate

Any of the ranks within the Navy or Coast Guard enlisted structure.

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Retreat

A bugle call sounded when the U. S. flag is being lowered at the end of the day.

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Roger

(Commtalk) Yes.

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S-2

The intelligence section of a battalion. The 02 MOS is assigned to intelligence personnel. br-

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School of Infantry

The MOS school for the Infantry career field. SOI East is at Camp Lejeune, NC and SOI West is at Camp Pendleton, CA. Every Marine graduating from boot camp at either Parris Island, SC or San Diego, CA goes next to SOI. New Marines who have not been assigned an 0300 (Infantry MOS) report to Marine Combat Training for four weeks of intensive training in combat weapons and techniques because “Every Marine is a Rifleman.” After MCT they are sent to their MOS school. New Infantry Marines report to the School of Infantry’s Infantry Training Battalion for MOS training. In addition, SOI operates an Advanced Infantry Training company to teach NCOs basic combat leadership skills as well as a Staff Non-Commissioned Officer’s Academy.

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SeaBat

A mythical creature used in a practical joke by salty Marines and sailors against inexperienced compatriots, usually aboard ship. There are a number of permutations of this joke, some quite nasty. One is that a newbie is shown a helmet laying on the deck and is told that someone has captured a sea bat. He is then told to position himself with one hand on each side of the helmet so that when the helmet is lifted he can capture the bat with his hands. The “bat” turns out to be a pile of feces or some other nasty substance.

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Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps

This is a billet and not a rank. He or she is the senior enlisted advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the insignia is the same as a sergeant major except that, between the chevrons and rockers is an eagle globe and anchor flanked by stars. The pay grade is E-9 and is shared with sergeants major and master gunnery sergeants. The other services have equivalent billets. The Sergeant Major of the Army”s insignia replaces the star with the Army eagle flanked by two stars. The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force wears a chief master sergeant rank except that the silver star is contained within a wreath. The Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and the Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard wear chief petty officer insignia with three stars above the eagle.

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Shithook

A pejorative term for the CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

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Six, Six and a Kick

The ultimate General Courts Martial punishment consisting of 6 months forfeiture of pay, 6 months confinement at hard labor and a dishonorable discharge.

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Sommers, David W

Eleventh Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps serving from June 27, 1987 through June 27, 1991. He was born on Feb. 18, 1943 in St. Louis, MO.

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Spouse

Wife or husband, usually preceded with “Dependent”. (see Dependent Wife)

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Starlight Scope

Night vision equipment. (see Green Eye.)

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Survey

Dispose of or evaluate for value to the mission.

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Tet

Lunar new year celebration which in 1968 marked the start of an offensive by the North Vietnamese Army to oust the Americans from Vietnam. While fighting was fierce, it was a failure for the Communist forces. (origin) Vietnam

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Top

(WWII through Vietnam) First Sergeant, informal reference not currently in use. At present, if it is used at all it refers to a Master Sergeant (who is in the same pay grade as a First Sergeant but serves in a more technical capacity). While not the top enlisted grade, a first sergeant is the senior enlisted grade authorized in a company, the level at which most Marines spend their time. Sometimes used as “top kick” (mostly a WWII usage).

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UA

Unauthorized Absence. The Marine equivalent of AWOL (Absent Without Leave).

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Utilities

(WWII to Vietnam) The Marine fighting and field uniform. During Vietnam, the Jungle Utilities (the Army called them fatigues) were introduced and eventually became “cammies” which replaced utilities

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Wasted

Extremely drunk or, in Vietnam, killed.

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Willie Peter Bag

A waterproofed canvas bag originally designed to keep a rolled up sleeping bag dry.

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YATYAS

You Ain’t Tracks, You Ain’t Shit. The rallying cry of Amtrackers. Used in similar form for most other jobs as in “You Ain’t Ordnance, You Ain’t Shit” or “You Ain’t Artillery, You Ain’t Shit”

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M170

Bipod for the M224 mortar.

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M3A1

Shoulder fired, blowback operated .45 cal. submachine gun with 30-round magazine known as the “grease gun”. A favorite of garrison officers. Standard on-board weapon for most tank crews.

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MAGTF

Marine Air Ground Task Force. A unit with both air and ground elements but not MEU or MEB.

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Marine Corps Gazette

The magazine for professional Marines.

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Massaro, John E

Eighth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps serving from April 1, 1977 through August 15, 1979. He was born on May 22, 1930 in Cleveland, OH.

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McHugh, Thomas J

Third Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps having served from June 29, 1962 until July 16, 1965. He was born Dec 23, 1919 in New York City and died in 1999.

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MessDeck

Naval term for Dining room.

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Missing Man Formation

A flight of usually five aircraft in a fly-over formation. When the flight reaches the honor point, one of the aircraft peels off into a steep climb leaving his or her position vacant. It is a formal salute rendered to POW and MIA as well as to deceased military people–usually aviators.

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MountUp

A cavalry term meaning to mount your horse and prepare to move out. In the infantry it is often said “mount out” and means to go into battle or begin a march or some similar event.

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Napalm

Highly volatile gasoline in a jelly form used for burning out caves during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Also used by the Air Force to defoliate large areas of forests or jungles.

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NJP

Non-judicial punishment.

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OCS

Officer Candidates School.

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Onion head

1. a newbie or green troop. (background) Refers to the pitiful cueball-ish hair cut that new recruits get during basic training.

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Overstreat, Harold G

Twelfth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps serving from June 28, 1991 until June 29, 1995. He was born in December of 1944 in Houston, TX.

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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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Quantico

Marine Corps Base south of Washington, DC. The home of Marine Corps University and most training for commissioned officers. Also headquarters of the Marine Corps Association and Leatherneck magazine.

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Rauber, Francis D

Second Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, he served from Sept 1, 1959 until June 28, 1961. He was born July 10, 1901 in Rochester, NY and died Feb 19, 1991.

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Retriever

A special tank designed as a sort of “wrecker” for tanks. The things they can do are almost miraculous.

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ROK Marines

The fiercest of the fighters in the Republic of Korea.

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S-4

The logistics and supply section of a battalion.

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Scoop

Information, usually unofficial but often correct. (see Bum Scoop.)

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Seabees

Navy Combat Construction Battalions.

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Sergeant of Marines

The second step in the noncommissioned officer ranks is indicated by three chevrons with crossed rifles. The pay grade is E-5 and is equivalent in the Army to a sergeant who wears three chevrons. In the Air Force, a staff sergeant wears four inverted chevrons with the top three covered at the angle by a blue field and a silver star. In the Navy and Coast Guard, the rank is petty officer second class and is indicated by two inverted chevrons under a Navy eagle, on the left arm only.

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Shitpot

Toilet or a large group as in “A whole shitpot full of Army pukes.”

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Six, The

A full colonel from the pay grade (O-6).

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SmallArms

Weapons of small caliber and usually requiring only one person to operate as opposed to crew-served weapons. This is not a precise term as some crew-served weapons, such as smaller machine guns are usually called small arms.

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SOP

Standard Operating Procedure.

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Spy Rigging

A rope designed to be hung from a helicopter to which Marines have been attached for the purpose of inserting them into or extracting them from dense jungle or other places where helicopters can not land. (synonym) Sometimes called Dope on a Rope.

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Stateside

The United States of America. In Vietnam, it was also referred to as “The World” as in “Back in the world.”

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Suzy Rottencrotch

Every Marine’s girlfriend, most of who are shacked up with Jody while the Marine is off defending his country.

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TH3

Thermite. (see AN-M14)

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Topside

1. Naval term for the deck or floor(s) above. 2. Also used to refer to the upper levels of the chain of command.

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UCMJ

Uniform Code of Military Justice. When it was introduced in the 1940s to replace the “Rocks and Shoals” system of Naval justice, it was jokingly said to be a way to bring the guilty bastards in and give them a fair trial.

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Utility Uniform

The field uniform of Marines prior to the adoption of cammies, it was an olive drab shirt and trousers with the khaki Marine belt and combat boots.

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Water Buffalo

A water tank on wheels.

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Wilson, Louis

Medal of Honor recipient and twenty-sixth Commandant of the Marine Corps. He served as Commandant from July 1, 1975 until June 30, 1979. He was born Feb. 11, 1920.

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Yemassee, SC

A small town west of Parris Island along the Atlantic Southern railroad main-line. For many Marines from WWI to Vietnam, this was their first day in the Corps and the first barracks they slept in while waiting transportation by “Cattle Car” or bus.

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M18

Colored Smoke Hand Grenade. Emits either red, green or yellow smoke for up to 1.5 minutes. Color is marked on the canister.

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M47

Dragon Weapon System. Man-portable, shoulder-fired, medium-range antitank weapon.

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Mail Buoy

A non-existent navigational aid used in a practical joke by “salty” Marines and sailors. (background) Allegedly, the mail buoy or sea buoy was a device to which passing ships or aircraft would attach packets of mail. Inexperienced Marines or sailors were assigned to “guard duty” and told to be on the look out for the buoy. It was part of an informal initiation rite.

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Marine Corps Hymn

Does not exist. (see Marines” Hymn)

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Master at Arms

A ship”s policeman. Usually a senior petty officer charged with keeping order aboard ship or in a Navy organization. When necessary, he would call upon Marines to assist in his duties.

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MCI

Marine Corps Institute. Correspondence school for Marine Corps leadership and technical training.

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MK1

Illuminating Hand Grenade. The burning magnesium emits 55,000 candlepower for about 25 seconds.

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MP

Military Police. At one time an additional duty, now a professional MOS with both guard and law enforcement responsibilities.

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NAS

Naval Air Station.

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Noncommissioned Officer Sword

The 1859 Field and Staff Officer sword. A badge of office worn on parade or in formal situations by NCOs.

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OD

Olive drab. Official color of utility and fatigue uniforms worn prior to the introduction of BDUs or cammies. (background) The term was replaced by Sage Green and then simply Green.

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Ontos

A Vietnam-era fighting vehicle that looked like a small tank with six externally mounted 105mm recoilless rifles attached. Ammunition and a loader were carried inside but he had to get out to load the tubes. When all six rifles were fired, at the same time the Ontos would stand up on its hind section. (origin) The word is reportedly Greek for “thing”.

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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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Quarterdeck

The location of the Officer of the Deck aboard ship. The ceremonial seat of authority in any shore-based unit. Where one goes to report in to a new command. A section of the recruit squad bay set aside for physical punishment of errant recruits–usually involving PT.

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Razor Wire

Similar to barbed wire or concertina with a sharp edge on one side and spikes every inch or so.

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Re-up

Reenlist or volunteer to serve another tour.

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Rollers

Naval term for hot dogs or frankfurters.

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Sage Green

One of the names for the color of utility uniforms. (see also OD)

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Screw the Pooch

To make a major mistake, particularly one that will have serious ramifications.

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Seagoing Bellhop

Derogatory term for Marines.

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Sewer Pipe Sailor

Pejorative term for a member of the submarine service.

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Shitter

Nickname given to CH-53 helicopters due to the huge amounts of exhaust smoke that they “shit” out of their exhausts. (see Super Shitter)

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Six-By

Originally a truck with six-wheel drive, a deuce and a half. Now any multi-wheeled, multi-drive vehicle.

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SMAW

Shoulder Launched Multi-Purpose Assault Weapon. A missile-firing weapon which fires an 83 mm dual-mode encased rocket which detonates in either a fast mode against a hard target or a slow mode against a soft target.

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SOS

An international distress signal used mostly with Morse code communications. Also, Shit on a Shingle, a breakfast meal consisting of creamed chipped beef served on toast. (see Mayday.)

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Squad

A unit consisting of three fire teams. It is assigned to a platoon and is usually led by a sergeant or staff sergeant.

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Stealth

Approaching invisibility usually through the application of technology,

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The President’s Own

The United States Marine Band. What term goes here? Madd Shitter, The? Term used primarily in the U.S. Army. Refers to deranged individuals that leave steaming piles of poo in conspicuous areas or sometimes in or on your personal equipment. Most of the time their aim is to shock or disgust the discoverers; other times they aim to cause illness by attacking food or water sources. Most attacks are meant as practical jokes played between units but occasionally they are meant as acts of revenge. Areas that the Mad Shitter has been known to strike: Public showers; on top of toilet seats; in sleeping bags; in hats or berets; in cars; in water tanks; on the hoods of cars; on desks

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Tothe Colors

A bugle call sounded in the morning as the U. S. flag is being raised. (see Reveille.)

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UD

1. Undesirable Discharge. Discharges between General and Bad Conduct Discharge. 2. Also, Uniform of the Day

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VA

Veterans Affairs, a federal cabinet department, formerly the Veterans Administration. DVA is not appropriate.

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Wave Cage

(Not PC) Living quarters of female enlisted Navy personnel.

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Wing

Usually Air Wing, an aviation unit equivalent to an infantry division.

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Yeoman

A clerk in the Navy.

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M1903

Springfield bolt-action .30 caliber rifle which was replaced by the M1 in the mid- 1930s. The Marine Corps used them through much of World War II.

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M48A3

Main battle tank in Vietnam with a 90 mm main gun, coaxial mounted .30 cal machine gun and a cupola mounted .50 cal. machine gun with a crew of 4. The 850 horse Chrysler air-cooled diesel engine provided a cruising range of approximately 200 miles. It weighed 52 tons when combat loaded.

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Main Bottle

360-gallon bottle of napalm on the M67A2 flame thrower tank. A cluster of nine air bottles surrounded the main bottle to provide air for combustion.

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Marine Corps League

National organization of Marines and former Marines, with local detachments throughout the country.

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Master Gunnery Sergeant of Marines

The senior enlisted technician in any MOS. His or her insignia is three chevrons and four rockers with a bursting bomb between chevrons and rockers. The pay grade E-9 is shared with sergeant major. None of the other services has a similar technical rank at that grade.

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McKeon, Matthew

Staff Sergeant of Marines. (see Ribbon Creek.)

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MessNight

A formal dinner and ceremony having strict rules, toasts and responses. The uniform is always evening dress, unless the unit is in a forward area where the appropriate field uniform is acceptable. It is a unique evening of fraternity open only to Marines or specifically invited guests (spouses are seldom, if ever, allowed to attend). Separate events are held for Commissioned and Warrant Officers, Staff Noncommissioned Officers, Noncommissioned officers, or sometimes it is open to all ranks.

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MK19 Mod

40 mm machine gun. An air-cooled, blow-back operated, belt-fed heavy machine gun.

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MPC

Military Pay Certificates. Script issued instead of dollars to Marines in Japan (following WWII) and Vietnam (during that conflict).

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NoncommissionedOfficer

Enlisted persons serving in positions of responsibility. Their ranks usually contain corporal or sergeant in them (although a lance corporal is not an NCO).

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OfficeHours

A non-judicial hearing for minor offenses at which NJP (non-judicial punnishment) may be issued by a commanding officer.

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Ooohraah

A sound made by a Marine to indicate agreement or to provide encouragement.

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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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Quarterdecking

To be taken to the quarterdeck for Incentive Training by the drill instructor. Outside, it is called Pitting,

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Recon

To patrol looking for enemy movements and facilities in order to gain information. Generally, contact is avoided if at all possible.

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Reveille

1. A signal to awaken, get out of bed and begin the day. 2. Often a bugle call, in boot camp more often the yells and screams of Drill Instructors and the sounds of GI cans crashing to the deck.

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RON

Remain Overnight.

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Sally

Nickname for the air mattresses at one time provided to Marines for field use.

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Scribe

A recruit who takes notes and makes lists for the platoon and the drill instructors. This is an informal position selected by the drill instructors.

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Seagoing Marine

The first mission of the Marine Corps. A Marine, trained at Sea School and assigned to the Marine Detachment on board ship. While most Marines at some time in their career will spend time on ship, only those Marines assigned as members of the ship”s complement earn this title. The insignia of a seagoing Marine is a gold seahorse superimposed on a gold anchor within a crimson lozenge. In 1998, all Marine Detachments on board ships were disbanded, thus ending a tradition that dated to 1775 and the first duty of the Marine Corps. (see USS Marine Association.)

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SGLI

Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance. GI Life Insurance.

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Shock Troop

A form of address between Marines, mostly in-country. (origin) Vietnam

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Skinny

Information, usually accurate. When it is known to be accurate it is often called Straight Skinny.

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Smoker

Boxing matches pitting unit champion boxers against on another.

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Soup Cooler

1. Large lips. 2. The mouth.

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Squad Bay

The living quarters for a recruit platoon, it consists of a large open space where bunk beds are set up, a head, a drill instructor”s hut and a small meeting area. Also, any open living space for Marines.

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SteelBeach

A party on board a ship,

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Swagger Stick

A short (usually under 2′) decorated stick carried by some Marine commissioned and non-commissioned officers. They have been outlawed at times by the Marine Corps and were introduced by the British Royal Marines whose leaders use them extensively.

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ThrashLight

Illumination of a combat zone by dropping 55-gal. barrels of napalm from CH-53 helicopters. Go to: this site for more info (which site?) (origin) Vietnam

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Toys for Tots

A nationwide project to collect toys and distribute them at Christmas to children of need. It began within the Marine Corps Reserve and is now assisted by the Marine Corps League. It has been placed within its own corporation, the Toys for Tots Foundation.

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Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

An alternate meaning for the acronym USMC.

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Vandegrift, Alexander A

Eighteenth Commandant of the Marine Corps and recipient of the Medal of Honor. The hero of Guadalcanal was a Virginia native born March 13, 1887 and as a lieutenant general on Jan. 1, 1944 he was appointed Commandant of the Marine Corps. A March 21, 1945 law permitted the President to appoint the Commandant to the rank of general, which he did effective that date. An Act of Aug 7 1947 fixed the rank of the Commandant at general.

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WAVES

Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services. The component unit in which women served the Navy. (see Woman Marine.)

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Wing Wiper

A pejorative term for a Marine assigned to an aviation unit.

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Yeomanette

Nickname given to women in the Navy during World War II since the only authorized rate was yeoman,

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M1911A1

The automatic pistol, 45 caliber is a recoil operated, magazine-fed hand weapon. Used from World War I until the 1990s, it has been replaced by the M9.

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M60

Air-cooled, belt-fed, gas-operated, fully automatic, shoulder-fired standard infantry machine gun 7.62 mm with bipod and replacement barrels.

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Mainside

The main portion of a base or installation where the headquarters are located along with the Marine Corps Exchange and theater. As opposed to “in the field” or the boonies.

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Marine Detachment

A small unit of Marines assigned as part of the ship’s complement to provide guard duties, operate the brig, provide orderlies to the senior Navy officers and man one or more of the guns on board. (see Seagoing Marine)

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Master Sergeant

Army and Air Force enlisted ranks. (see Master Sergeant of Marines)

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McMichael, Alford L

Fourteenth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps and the first black to serve in that position. Began his duties on July 1, 1999 and is still serving. He was born in Hot Springs, AR.

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MEU

Marine Expeditionary Unit. The smallest of the expeditionary organizations is built around a Battalion Landing Team and a Composite Air Squadron. It consists of approximately 2,500 Marines.

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M-NU

A fluid used by Marines to renew emblems and metal rank which are showing metal through the black coloring. Originally dark brown, since Marine Corps emblems were that color until about 1960 when emblems and shoes became black. The name stands for eMblem-reNU.

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Mr. Charles

A Viet Communist soldier. Usually called Charlie. (origin) Vietnam

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Naval Gunfire

Artillery support from ships at sea. Infantrymen have varying opinions of its effectiveness and aim.

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Non-judicial Punishment

Punishment under the UCMJ that does not require a courts martial. It is for minor infractions and is usually administered by the Marine”s commanding officer or ship”s captain.

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OfficePogue

An office clerk. see Remington Raider.)

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OP

Observation Post.

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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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QuartermasterSergeant

The second ranking enlisted grade in the Marine Corps during the Civil War. Not presently used.

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RECON

Marine Recon conducts amphibious and ground reconnaissance operations, surveillance, battlespace shaping, and limited scale raids in support of a Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Unit, and other Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTF’S) or a Combined/Joint Task Force.

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RF

Regional Forces. Sort of like an Army reserve ranking between the ARVN and the PF.

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Rope

All rope used on a ship is called line. A former name for a female drill instructor. Until they were authorized to wear the campaign cover, female Marine drill instructors were designated with a crimson aiguillette worn on the left shoulder.

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Sally Port

A gate or passage into a fortified place.

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Scrimshaw

Intricate drawings and etchings, usually on whalebone. Sailors would spend many of the boring hours at sea creating these masterpieces of art.

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SEAL

Sea, Air, Land. The guerrilla and reconnaissance force of the U. S. Navy, specially trained for covert operations.

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Shallow Water Sailors

Coast Guardsmen. (background) There is a Navy joke that inquires of a Coastie of short stature, how he was able to enlist. When asked what is meant by that the response is, “You guys in the Coast Guard have to be 6 feet tall so that when your ship sinks you can walk ashore.”

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Short

Close to ETS or PCS. An attitude involving lack of interest and inattention. Someone who is short is known as a Short-timer.

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Skipper

A term of respect for a company grade officer (usually a captain). Not used much in the modern Marine Corps.

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SmokingLamp

Naval term. When the smoking lamp is lit it is alright to smoke, when it is out smoking is prohibited. Fire is the most dangerous threat at sea so, particularly on wooden ships, it was necessary to strictly control the use of fire and smoking materials. A lamp was hung on the forecastle, where sailors were allowed to sit and relax, and the sailors knew they could smoke their pipes if the lamp was lit. If it was not lit, smoking was not allowed.

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Soup Sandwich

1. Not squared away. 2. Not sharp or crisp.

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Squared Away

In good shape, everything in place, prepared.

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Stick

An individual row or line of Marines lined up to disembark a vehicle (aircraft or ship). Most famously used by paratroopers preparing to jump from a well maintained and fully functional aircraft,

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Swamp Lagoon

A pejorative term for Camp Lejeune, NC.

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Three Ss

Shit, shower and shave.

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Track Lube

A tanker’s term for Infantrymen.

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UncleSam’s Canoe Club

The U. S. Naval Academy (Canoe U) or more broadly, the U. S. Navy.

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VC

Vietcom, Viet Communist, (usually pronounced Vietcong). (see Charlie)

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Webb, Jack

Hollywood producer and actor, best knows as Sgt. Joe Friday from the television series Dragnet in the mid-20th Century. He was lead actor in a movie from the 1950s called “DI” about a Marine Drill Instructor at Parris Island SC. His production company was Mark VII.

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Winger

A Marine assigned to an Air Wing. (see Wing Wiper.)

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YGTBSM

You’ve Got To Be Shitting Me. A Marine’s expression of disbelief.

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M1917A1

Browning water-cooled machine gun.

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M64

Sight for the M224 mortar.

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Major

The fourth grade of commissioned officer and first of the field grades is indicated by a gold oak leaf on the collar points. The pay grade is O-4 and is the same in the Army and Air Force. In the Navy and Coast Guard, the rank is lieutenant commander and is additionally indicated with two broad bands of gold with one narrow band between them, topped with insignia representing the branch to which the officer is assigned (most often a gold star in the Navy) or a gold shield in the Coast Guard.

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Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)

Built around a complete Division-Wing team with combat support and combat service support groups, the MEF consists of about 53,000 Marines and sailors.

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Master Sergeant of Marines

Three chevrons and three rockers with crossed rifles between chevrons and rockers. The pay grade E-8 is shared with First Sergeant of Marines. In the Army, the rank and insignia are the same without the crossed rifles. In the Air Force, the rank is senior master sergeant who wears a technical sergeant insignia with one chevron above. Navy and Coast Guard equivalents are senior chief petty officer who wears the chief petty officer insignia with one star above the eagle.

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MCRD

Marine Corps Recruit Depot. There is one at Parris Island, SC and one in San Diego CA.

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MIA

Missing In Action.

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Mo Skosh

Very small. (see Skoshi)

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MRE

Meal, Ready to Eat. Often called Meal that Refuses to Exit. (see C-Rations.)

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Navy Construction Battalion

Combat engineers and construction forces known as Seabees.

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Non-qual

A Marine who did not qualify as an expert, sharpshooter or marksman on the rifle range. Non-quals do not graduate from boot camp.

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Officer

General use refers to commissioned officers and warrant officers. Non-commissioned officers are also officers but are generally referred to as NCOs or specific rank.

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Operation Golden Flow

Military term used for a routine urinalysis test.

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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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Recruit

A person enlisted into the Marine Corps in anticipation of attending boot camp or a person undergoing training in boot camp. A recruit must earn the title “Marine” by successfully completing boot camp. Some people are given rank (usually PFC or LCpl) on enlistment and are paid at that rank, but during boot camp they wear no rank and are called “Recruit” like everyone else in training. Only upon graduation are they allowed to wear the insignia of their rank.

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RHIP

1. Rank Has Its Privileges. 2. Also, among lower ranking enlisted Marines, Rank Has Its Pricks.

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Rotorhead

Helicopter pilot.

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Salty

Referring to someone or something with a lot of experience, particularly at sea. A salty Marine is one who has been around a while. A salty uniform is more faded and obviously used, but still sharp. Salty language is language salted with profanities or obscenities.

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SCUM

The only English language word that can be made from the letters USMC.

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SeaLawyer

Someone who appears to know all the angles and methods to escape punishment or who provides legal advice while not a lawyer.

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Short Round

1. An artillery shell that falls short of its intended target, often because of defective gunpowder or a miscalculation. 2. A person who is diminutive in stature.

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Skippie

A not-too-bright Marine. br” – br” The name is used supposedly because Navy Corpsmen handed out the pain killers like candy.

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SNAFU

Situation Normal; All Fucked Up.

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SP

Shore Patrol. Duties performed by both Navy petty officers and Marine noncommissioned officers, usually as an additional duty, to police sailors and Marines on liberty in a foreign or domestic port. Not a professional MOS but now often performed by MPs. (see MP)

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Squid

A pejorative term for sailors.

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Stow

To put away in its assigned place and neatly. Or to stop as in the Navy phrase “stow that bilge” meaning stop talking garbage,

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Sweet, Herbert J

Fourth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, he served from July 17, 1965 until July 31, 1969. Born Oct 8, 1919 in Hartford, CT he died in October of 1997.

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Three up and three down

A reference to a First Sergeant or a Master Sergeant (three stripes up and three rockers down).

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TrainingFilm

U.S. military cover term for a pornographic video.

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Uncommon valor was a common virtue

Refers to the victories in World War II, especially at Iwo Jima, the largest all-Marine battle in history. Admiral Nimitz’s ringing characterization of Marines fighting on Iwo Jima was applied to the entire Marine Corps in World War II: “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

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Victor Charlie

Radio talk for Vietcong or Vietcom. (origin) Vietnam

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Well Deck

A lower deck on some ships that can be flooded to embark and debark Marines on board amphibious tractors and boats.

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Wire, The

The perimeter of a position so named because most perimeters were marked with concertina or barbed wire. (origin) Vietnam

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Young Marines

A program for young people from 8-18, sponsored and run by the Marine Corps League.

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M1918

Browning Automatic Rifle, known universally as the BAR/

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M67

Fragmentation hand grenade. This 14 oz hand weapon contains 6.5 oz of composition B. The average Marine can throw it 40 meters and it has a casualty producing radius of 15 meters.

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Major General

Second of the flag officer ranks indicated by two silver stars on the collar points of the uniform. The pay grade is O-8 and is the same in the Army and the Air Force. In the Navy and Coast Guard the rank is rear admiral (upper half) and is additionally indicated with a two-inch gold band and two one-inch gold bands and a gold star (Navy) or gold shield (Coast Guard) above on the coat cuffs. The shoulder board is the same as rear admiral (lower half) except that there are two silver stars rather than one.

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Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU)

The smallest of the expeditionary organizations is built around a Battalion Landing Team and a Composite Air Squadron. It consists of approximately 2,500 Marines.

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Mattel

A 20th Century toy company erroneously reported to have been the original manufacturer of the M16 rifle (see M16). The rifle was detested by soldiers at the start of the Vietnam war as it was prone to sand and dirt-induced jams and the stocks broke with very little impact. The problems were resolved and was produced for years. It has been replaced by the M16A 2.

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MCRD

Marine Corps Recruit Depot. There are two in the Marine Corps, one at Parris Island, SC and the other in San Diego, CA. (see Hollywood Marines.)

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Mickey Mouse Boots

Cold weather boots worn by Marines.

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MOH

Medal of Honor. It is not Congressional Medal of Honor. There are three separate designs: Army, Navy and Air Force. The criteria is the same for all. It is the most senior award that can be given to a military person.

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MSG

Marine Security Guard. (see Embassy Marine)

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NBC

Nuclear, Biological and Chemical.

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Noted

1. An answer meaning “understood” when receiving a list of instructions. 2. An indication that something was written down.

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Officer Candidates School

A training program for motivated college graduates who have been screened by the Marine Corps for the qualities necessary to become a leader of Marines. Upon graduation, they are commissioned Second Lieutenant of Marines. The selection process begins with the Recruiting Command’s Officer Selection Officer.

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OpTempo

Operational Tempo; how frequently a unit deploys or goes to the field.

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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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About DevilDogCorps.com

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