Bestselling Author Amy J. Fetzer
Bestselling Author Amy J. Fetzer

Military Jargon

It's come to my attention that no matter how well I explain something in the context of a story, some meanings slip by for the reader.

Here are a few terms or jargon that occurs in my stories. I’ll be adding to it periodically.

'Watch your six' Watch your back. If twelve o’clock is directly in front of you, nine to your left, and 3 o’clock to your right, then six is behind yourself, at your back. “Cover my six,” means cover my back with weapon fire or watching for unfriendlies.
LZ Landing Zone
'Bug out' Leave the attack zone.
'Comms' Communications equipment, throat mikes, ear mikes, radios.
S.E.R.E. training Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. In Perfect Weapon it’s wrong, and says, Search Evasion Rescue and Extraction. The correction didn’t get in the final book.
NMCC National Military Command Center
TANK Joint Chief’s of Staff meeting rooms, high security
JCS Joint Chiefs of Staff, at present Peter Pace is the chairman.
Years ago, my father a member of the JCS
'9-mill' Nine millimeter Beretta, standard side arm of Marines.
M-16 Standard automatic rifle.
MP5 A smaller more compact assault rifle with a scope.
Scope A sight on top of the rifle to put the enemy in the cross hairs.
Cross hairs Two bisecting lines in the lens of the scope.
'Lead the target' Aiming a few centimeters before the target as the bullet will travel and reach the target by the time he runs to the spot.
Clip A device that holds ammunition so it came be rapidly loaded into a weapon. A clip is inserted into the magazine.
Magazine The actual container of ammunition. Some weapons have removable magazines that are preloaded and ready to insert and fire.
Field strip No not taking off clothes but taking apart a weapon usually for cleaning. Although, I heard ‘field strip that cigarette butt,’ which is removing the filter, pocketing that and letting only the ash and tobacco hit the ground. No paper.
UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Small aircraft that are controlled from a distance via satellite. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, they were controlled by a tech on a base in the US. Cool huh?
LBV Load Bearing Vest. A vest with several pockets that is often worn over the flack jacket and holds medicals kits, ammo, glasses, anything they will need in combat.
Kevlar The bulletproof material. Kevlar plates slid into a vest. Recently constructed to be one piece, LBV with ballistic proof up to certain calibers, then more can be added to the vest.
Jungles or diggies Camouflage uniforms worn in combat and daily by military. ‘Diggies’ are Marines only and its pattern is digital. New Marines call the uniform Diggies, old school call them jungles or utilities. The uniform has only recently changed in the last 3-5 years.
NVG’s Night Vision Goggles. A single scope that enables you to see in the dark, a single flash of light will blind you if it occurs in front of you. Through the goggles all that is light is greenish.
T. I. Thermal imagining that shows the heat of the body.
Concussion grenade Sends out a bright light and high sound to stun, but not kill. Law enforcement, like SWAT use them.
Liquid body armor Full suits like a dive suit recently developed by the Army.
RIB Rigid Inflatable boat, Often referred to as a Zodiak. It’s large and can have gun mounts.
249 Gulf a 'saw' A big ass machine gun. Its uses a 7.62 mm round. Sometimes it’s on the side of a chopper and the ‘Gunner’ mans it to offer cover fire for troops getting on the chopper or jumping/ repelling off. Or in trouble. They are also the gun on the top of a humvee you see in pictures of troops in Iraq. My son Nick was a Saw Gunner.
Suppressor To muzzle noise suppression on a rifle. Looks like a silencer only fatter.
Suppression fire Laying down rapid fire to keep the enemy from moving in any direction.
RPG Rocket propelled grenade. Launched a grenade with the speed of a rocket. A good thing since once the pin is pulled it's a three seconds to the blast.
Chem lite A glow in the dark light, in stick form that military use to read maps. You’ve probably seen kids wearing different versions on Halloween.
The Farm. CIA training grounds.
NOC A non-official covert or clandestine officer of the CIA. We call them agents, they are really called officers. Alexa in NAKED TRUTH was a NOC. Adam Kincade in HIT HARD is not covert.
HALO Jump, High Altitude Low Opening. Jump from 35 ,000 feet. They need oxygen to survive the first few thousand feet of the free fall. The jump is done from this height above radar detection.
Ooh-rahh The US Marines battle cry. It’s often spoken for almost any occasion to depict a hurray, to motivate before danger, but mostly a show of solidarity. Something good happens, Ooh rahh. However, it was formed from the battle of Tripoli and it’s Turkish for ‘Kill.’ Makes you wonder how is got to be a good thing to say, huh?
Semper Fi Short for Semper Fidelis, ‘Always faithful.’ The Marine motto.
Devil Dog, The hound of hell It’s what the Nazi’s called the Marines.

As the story goes, the Fifth and Sixth Regiments of Marines earned the nickname of Teufel Hund [sic], or Devil Dog, by the Germans in World War I during the 1918 Château-Thierry campaign near the French village of Bouresches. Its is remembered as the battle at Belleau Wood. Marines assaulted a line of German machine-gun nests on an old hunting preserve known as Belleau Wood. The fighting was terrible. Those Marines who weren't cut down by the enemy guns captured the nests in a grisly close-quarters battle. The shocked Germans nicknamed their foes, teufelhunden [sic] (devil dogs).

That particular battle earned the 5th and 6th marines the foregere from the French government in recognition of their valor. It’s a red and green braid that is worn on the Charlie uniform, over the shoulder and under one arm. Only Marines in the 5-6th Marine Regiment wear it. My husband and my father both served in these regiments and wore it.

I’m told the correct German spelling for Devil Dog is really 'Teufelshunde'.


Military Call signs. These are used all the time, the reason they came about was because of distortion over a radio and words made letters clearer.

A Alpha N November
B Bravo O Oscar
C Charlie P Papa
D Delta Q Quebec
E Echo R Romeo
F Foxtrot S Sierra
G Gulf T Tango
H Hotel U Uniform
I India V Victor
J Julia W Whiskey
K Kilo X Xray
L Lima Y Yankee
M Mike Z Zulu

Military time 0700 is 7 am. When you hit 1pm in the after noon it's 1300. Easy way is to count 13 as 1 o’clock, 1400 is 2, 1500 is 3 pm and so on. 2400 hours is midnight and 0100 is 1 AM. My mom can do that without counting.

To see the ranks of the Marines from lowest to highest click here.