110 Terms and Phrases You Need to Know By REMF

If You’re Going to Sound Right at your next Airsoft Big Game. I thought I knew all the terminology and phrases common to the modern army but this old Ranger discovered that in addition to the many military phrases and expressions used in my day, the modern Army has added many new ones. At Lion Claws events the company commanders are always contemporary authorities with extensive military background. Almost all of the Platoon and squad leaders had attended past Lion Claws events so they were indoctrinated to the lingo and parlance of the modern US Army. I on the other hand at times felt like there was another language being spoken. One company was lead by Colonel McKnight who actually led the ground forces in Mogadishu during the US adventure depicted in the book and Movie Blackhawk Down. The other company was lead by MSGT Max Mullens who is one of the few men who served in each of the Army’s Ranger Battalions. He served as an instructor at the Ranger School for several cycles and is a warrior through and through. He holds a CIB, EIB, Master Parachute wings, made a combat jump and literally wrote the Ranger Handbook. These guys are the real deal and part of the treat in attending a Lion Claws event is hearing the lingo and watching the manner and processes with which they conduct themselves. For me a lot of it was Deja Vu and a trip down memory lane but on many occasions I was completely befuddled and intrigued by the things said. Here are some of the more memorable expressions and words that will help you translate what’s being said or allow you to sound more like a modern warrior.


AAA (Pronounced “triple A.”) Anti Aircraft Artillery Close in anti aircraft equipment often employed against ground targets.

AAR After Action Review. Every mission ends with a debriefing. What went right, what went wrong, best practices and recommendations? Focus is not on fingering pointing but improvement opportunities. “Looking back to look ahead.”

Alpha The phonetic pronunciation for the letter “A”

Alt. Freq Alternate frequency A backup frequency should always be provided and discussed prior to leaving your assembly area.

Ancillary Unit A sub unit (A squad is an ancillary unit of a platoon)

Adjacent Unit A friendly unit operating to your flank.

AO Area of Operations

ARA Air Rocket ArtilleryArea Recon A recon usually conducted in a cloverleaf from the objective rally point that would allow the unit to efficiently inspect an entire area

.ATL Assistant Team LeaderBattle Brief Full on operations order for the front line troops with all the details and assignments.

Battle Buddy Your assigned partner. Every player had a battle buddy responsible for always knowing the other guys location and status. The smallest grouping in Ranger school and units is a pair.

Bat Net The frequency(s) used by the battalion

BDA Bomb damage assessment

Blue on Blue Friendly fire incident

BNT Beginning of nautical twilight time the sun drops behind the horizon

Bravo The phonetic pronunciation of the letter “B”

Boundary lines Lines on a map known only to your side that border the outer edges of your assigned AO

Bounding Overwatch One unit halted and focused on likely enemy locations to provide cover fire if needed while the other unit moves ahead.

Callsigns Codes that designate various elements for use in radio transmissions.

Catch 22 Anyone who was crazy would be released from a war zone. Any sane person in a war zone would go a little bit crazy therefore no one would be released for being crazy.

Commo check A communications check (usually for radios prior to departure on a mission)

CEOI Formal signal code book to include authentication tables, callsigns, frequencies, passwords etc.

Charlie Alpha(CA) Combat AssaultCharlie Mike Continue the mission.

C4 Plastic Explosives.

Commanders Intent This is the outcome the commander is looking for. The mission may be to conduct an attack on a hilltop outpost on the enemies left flank but the commanders intent is to disrupt the enemy defensive front and create a diversion. By providing the commanders intent if the formal mission (even if completed) won’t satisfy the commanders intent the unit knows even without orders what to do next. Imagine the unit attacks the hilltop and there is no opposition, they know to press their attack further so as to call attention to themselves.

Company Net The radio frequency used by the company

Dismounts Forces on foot.

DZ Drop zone

E &E Escape and EvadeENT

End of Nautical twilight (Sunrise.)

Exfil Withdraw from an area (usual indicating by truck or helicopter)

FAC Forward Air Controller

Far Ambush A surprise attack not decisive in its violence. When engaged in a far ambush you should take cover and react with caution.

Fart Sack Sleeping Bag

FNG F***ing New Guy

Frag Order A partial heads up on a mission. Type of mission, estimated departure time, special gear with details to follow later. (also known as a Warning Order)

Fast Mover A fighter bomber

FEBA The forward edge of the battle area.

Full Battle Rattle Everyone ready with all the things they’re bringing to the field. (“We’ll have a formation at 0900 and I need everyone in full battle rattle, no exceptions!”

Fire for Effect Pour it on, continue to shell where you’re firing now.

Golf Tango Charlie (Go to Cover.) Move into heavy concealment and lay low.

Going to Index. (End) “This operation is going to index at 1400 hours.”

Goofy Grape Purple smoke grenade.

Hard times Concrete, virtually unwavering timelines for key events. “Write down the following hard times, 0530 wake up, 0630 Leaders briefing, 0800 Operations Order, 0900 formation in full battle rattle, 0930 Movement to PZ.” Leaders should always work backwards from these hard times and be prepared to delegate in order to accomplish all that needs to take place within the timeline.

HE High Explosives

H&I Mission Harass and Interdict Usually referring to artillery or indirect fire missions also applies to roles for ground units on occasion where they don’t want decisive engagements and attack in a seemingly random way.

Hotel Tango Heavy Team

Hooah An expression of exuberance or agreement In my day it was an enthusiastic cheer, today it seems most often to be a sign that you understand the instruction. “Your platoon will lead and sweep through the objective. Hooah?” Expected response “Hooah”.

Internal Net Codes within the unit. Running passwords etc. In our platoon “Razors” were our snipers and “Daggers” referred to our recon elements. This was part of our internal net.

Immediate action Reactions that are almost instinctive as they have been practiced and rehearsed to the point that no thought is given to the response. Clearing a weapon that has jammed requires immediate action. Responses to a near ambush calls for immediate action.

Immediate Action Drills Repetitious rehearsal to the point of tedium so an action becomes instinctive when needed.Lay Dog Go to cover right after insertion to listen for enemy action before moving out.

LBE Load Bearing Equipment Stuff you haul your gear in including your ammo harness and ruck sack

Line of Departure The point from which you could reasonably expect enemy contact

Lima Charlie (Loud and Clear) “How do you Lima Charlie? (How well do you hear me) “I read you Lima Charlie” or I read you 8 for 10”

Loach Light Observation Helicopter

LON Lay over night position hidden, not defensive in nature

LRRP Long Rang Recon Patrol

LURPs Early versions of MREs where you added water to heat them up. Initially issued to Recondo troops

LZ Landing Zone.

KIA (Killed in Action) WIA (Wounded in Action)

MIA (Missing in Action)

McGuire Rig An attachement below a helicopter that allowed three men to insert in areas too small for a helicopter to land in (An improved version of a STANO rig back in my day)

METT Mission, Equipment, Time, and terrain. The key things you needed to include in your warning order.

Mikes Phonetic for minutes. “We’re three mikes from objective Panther.”

Mission Emphasis Order of priority for the various assignments that may be given

Movement to Contact A mission where a force has no defined objective but is to remain mobile in an effort to engage your opponent.

Movement by Bounds One unit covering while the other unit sweeps forward on a flank. Usually while under fire.

MRE Meals Ready to Eat Also known as Meals Rejected by Ethiopians actually quite good.

NDP Night Defensive Position or perimeter

Near Ambush A surprise attack with friendly forces caught in a decisive kill zone. Your reaction should be to unhesitantly turn and assault with aggressive fire. Do not take cover

Newbie (See FNG)

Numbnuts Mentally slow, see FNG

NVG Night Vision Goggles

NVD Night Vision Devices

Order of Movement Which unit will lead, which will follow, which will trail Seems obvious but failing to spell this out causes huge amount of confusion even with small sized units.

OP Order Operations Order Typically consists of full on briefing which highlights the following: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and Logistics, Command and Signal Each of those has sequential elements so nothing is left out. For example the situation would include events that lead up to the present, enemy dispositions, friendly elements and weather.

Op Slicks The code book is usually covered in plastic so Op slicks refers to the unit codes. The codes were numbered and there were lots of them so usually in the briefing they’d emphasize which op slicks would be most likely used. The following op slicks apply: 3, 7, 8, 9, 12, 21, 23, 26, 29, 30 31 & 41. Let’s review them….”

ORP Objective rally points, designated location near the objective. This is where the unit will gather prior to final deployment and usually collect after the mission is completed prior to moving back to their PZ.

Phase line(s) Reference boundary(s) on a map known only to your side that should be easily identified like a treeline, road, stream or fence. Things you would cross enroute to or while returning from your objective.

PIG M-60 machine gun

PLF Parachute Landing Fall. The proper way to land when parachuting to minimize injury.

Poggey Bait Unauthorized candy and snacks.

POR Priority Operational Requirement (What is the key objective for the mission) “The POR for this mission is to render the bridge inoperable for heavy equipment.”

Point Element The unit that is to lead the formation

PIR Priority Intelligence Requirement (What is the key intelligence we are seeking.) “The PIR for this mission is to locate the enemy TOC.”

PZ Papa Zulu, or Pickup zone

Rally Points Locations designated enroute where the unit can gather if they are separated or make contact and need to fall back and assemble

Real World Caz. Actual injury not simulated casualty

REPEAT Send more rounds Phrase only used on the radio when requesting continuous fire on a target. You never say on the radio “repeat what you just said.” Or “repeat that last transmission.”

RON An over night position (Remain Over Night)

RPG Rocket Propelled Grenade A soviet style anti tank launcher

RPK Soviet Squad Automatic Weapon Derived from the official designation: Ruchnoi Pulemyot Kegtyaryev (RPKs easier!)

Running Passwords Things you’d say over and over to identify yourself to friendly forces.

SALUTE Acronym for effective recon report on enemy sighting. What was the enemies: Size, Activity, Location, Unit (if Known) Time spotted and Equipment.

SAR A search and rescue mission

SAW a squad automatic weapon

SITREP Situation Report

Snivel Gear Wet weather or cold weather clothing. “I don’t want them in formation with their snivel gear on cause it’s going to get hot later on.”

SOI Signal Operating Instructions See CEOI, includes op slicks.

SOPs Standard Operation Procedures. Agreed upon ways your unit does things pre-arranged and expected. “We have an SOP for loading helicopters and crossing roads.”

Shot Out Indirect has been fired shells are on the way.

Section Eight Released from the army for being too crazy to stay in. see catch 22.

Tango Phonetic for the letter “T” often used to refer to the enemy. Be advised you have possible tangos on your 3 o’clock.

Tango Sierra Tough S**t Too bad, Outta luck. “Im afraid you’re Tango Sierra my friend…”

TAOR Tactical Area of Responsibility

TOC Tactical Operation CenterTrailing Element Final element in an order of movement.

WMD (Whiskey Mike Delta) Weapon of Mass Destruction

WP (Willie Pete) White Phospherous Smoke marking round from mortars or artillery.

Your Six To your rear, behind you. Also might refer to your unit commander. Element leaders are often designated as “the six.” (Rainbow Six)


REMF is retired infantry captain (airborne, ranger and recondo qualified) who first got into airsoft 16 years ago. He now spends his freetime playing airsoft with his son. You can reach him from his team Hooah Airsoft email address.