Sometimes reading a military-set book can feel like being in a foreign country if you are not military yourself. Here is a collection of helpful glossary terms and also links providing further information on military protocol and the like. I used a lot of these when writing, and some of them are links I found to enhance and support the reading experience. It’s by no means complete, and if you’ve got a link you know of that you think I should add, please feel free to contact me with it!
Here’s a quick & dirty guide to acronyms and other terms used in both the Hard to Hold and Shadow Force series. They’re in alphabetical order – for some, I’ve given an explanation, and for others, simply the link, which can explain much better than I ever could.
ASR – alternate supply route
Black/Gray Ops – deniable missions, ones that are off the grid, top secret and officially do not exist.
BUD/s - or BUD/S as it is on the actual Navy (navy) website. Stands for Basic Underwater Demolition (SEAL) Training. A six month course split into 3 parts, the first of which is most known for ending in Hell Week.
CAG – Commander, Air Force / Navy
Commissioned versus Enlisted – Click to find out more.
The Congo – Democratic Republic of the Congo
DoD – Department of Defense
FUBAR – Fucked up beyond all recognition
GOST – Government Operatives Specialty Team. Stephanie Tyler created this agency…or did she? Hmmmm….
Hell Week – the culmination of the first 8 weeks of BUS/S training where potential SEALs are pushed to their limits, mentally and physically. Typically, 2/3 of candidates ring out at this point, at the conditioning is punishing and meant to weed out the men who are capable of handling physical pain, extreme lack of sleep, being cold and wet and constantly berated by instructors.
Helo – helicopter
IED – improvised explosive device
JAG – Judge Advocate General (Naval lawyers)
LZ – landing zone
Merc – mercenary. These days, the term private contractor is used more frequently. But really, they are soldiers (and sailors) for hire, usually in other countries, such as Africa or Afghanistan or Iraq. Click to find out more.
METTAGS – Stands for Medical Emergency Triage tag. They are four different colored tags used to maximize survivors in battle and disaster situation. Cards are color coded and labeled Red for Urgent, Yellow for non-urgent, Green for no hospital treatment and Black for dead or unsalvageable. See Mettag website for more details.
MIA – Missing in Action
MO – Modus Operandi
MSF – Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders
Médecins Sans Frontières was created in 1971 by a small group of French doctors in the aftermath of the Biafra secession, who believed that all people have the right to medical care regardless of race, religion, creed or political affiliation, and that the needs of these people supersede respect for national borders.
The organization is known in most of the world by its French name or simply as MSF, but in the United States and Canada the name Doctors Without Borders is often used instead. (From Wikipedia)
NVs – Night Vision goggles
OCS – Officer Candidate School
OUTCONUS – Outside the Continental United States
QAF – Quick Action Force
PSD – Protective Service Detail (authorized by military for military personnel)
RPGs – Rocket Propelled Grenades
SAS – British Special Forces
SERE – stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape – standard training for Special Forces / SEALs, etc.
SIG – Sig Sauer (gun)
SITREP – Situation Report
SOP – Standard Operating Procedure
UDT – Underwater Demolition Teams (aka Frogmen) – early SEALs
Witness Protection Program – aka Witness Security aka WitSec
Zimbabwe – Click to find out more.
Branches of Military
ParaJumpers – aka PJs
Delta Force – covert branch of the Army’s Special Forces.
Force Recon – Marines / Special Forces
SEAL – an acronym for Sea, Air and Land – part of the elite Special Operations Forces of the Military