506th Airborne Infantry

Regiment Association

Definitions of Terms Used in the Vietnam Era

July 28, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Definitions of Terms

Vietnam Era

The following terms are not specific to the 506th, the 101st Airborne Division or Vietnam. The terms are provided as an aid to terminology in use during the Vietnam Era that may change over time or may not be available elsewhere. If you have one we don't let us know and we'll add it to the list.


01542 - MOS of an Infantry Officer
71542 - denoted Airborne qualified Infantry Officer
31542 - denoted Special Forces qualified Infantry Officer
05B - MOS of a radiotelephone operator
05C - MOS of a radioteletype operator
11B - MOS of an infantryman, also eleven-bravo, or eleven-bush.
11C - MOS of a infantry indirect fire weapons (81mm & 4.2 inch mortar)
11F - MOS of infantry intelligence and operations
11H - MOS of infantry direct fire weapons (recoiless rifle)
12A - MOS of an apprentice engineer
67U - MOS Chinook repairman
91A - MOS of a medical NCO
91B - MOS of a medical corpsman (medic)
122mm Rocket - A VC/NVA rocket (with booster) capable of flying 22 kilometers primarily seen in I Corps. Larger than a U.S. mortar (81mm) by fifty percent.
201 File - U.S. Army personnel file.
50 cal - US heavy machine gun must be cocked twice to be ready to fire, couldn't use communist ammo.
51 cal - A communist heavy machine gun 1mm larger than US made, they could use US ammo.
7 and a wake-up - Eight days left in-country, the end of a tour, or time in Military Service was over.
81 - Nickname of a U.S. mortar (the metric size of the shell).


A Shau - A valley in the South-West corner of Thua Thien province that was a stronghold of the VC/NVA.
AAR - After Action Report.
AFN - Armed Forces Network broadcast service.
AFRTS - Armed Forces Radio and Television Service
AG - Adjutant General.
Agent Orange (and other herbicides):

  • A defoliant / herbicide containing trace amounts of the toxic contaminant dioxin that was used during the Vietnam War to defoliate areas of jungle growth. The name was derived from the orange identifying strip on drums in which it was stored.
  • Agent Orange was a 1:1 mixture of the n-butyl esters of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T). A byproduct contaminant of the manufacturing process for 2,4,5-T is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD), commonly referred to as dioxin. Demand for military Agent Orange resulted in higher levels of dioxin contamination than in the 2,4,5-T produced for civilian applications.
  • Agent Orange caused Vietnamese farmers to lose about 70% of their crops.
  • 18 million gallons of Agent Orange were reported to have been dumped on areas in South Vietnam.
  • Over 6250 square miles of South Vietnam can not be farmed because of defoliation.
  • C-123 (Caribou) was the plane used in Operation Ranch Hand that dumped 11,000 lbs of Agent Orange over 300 acres in just four minutes.
  • A class action suit against seven chemical companies was settled out of court in 1984 for victims and families of those exposed to herbicides for $180,000,000 (the lawyers got a staggering 100 million dollars).

Description Dioxin (TCDD) Amount Foliage Use
Agent Orange 1.77 to 40 ppm Broad Leaf
Agent Blue 32.8 to 45 ppm Narrow Leaf
Agent Pink (Red) 65.6 ppm Anything
Agent White (Green) 65.6 ppm Broad Leaf
Silvex 1 to 70 ppm Fungicide
2,4,5-T (Current) 0.1 ppm or less

Airmoble - Helicopter borne combat personnel, 101st Airborne Division and 1st Cavalry Division.
Airborne - Personnel trained to parachute into combat.
AIT - Advanced Individual Training also Advanced Infantry Training.
AK-47 - The Russian Kalashnikov rifle used by the VC/NVA. An excellent weapon for the Vietnam war, 11.3 lbs loaded.
Annamite - The mountain range traversing South Vietnam.
Anti-Malaria Pills - Ingested on a daily basis, and/or once a week while stationed in South East Asia.
AO - Area of Operation.
Ao Dia - A long shirt like garment. Traditional Vietnamese female dress (split on sides) worn over pants.
Apache Snow - See: Operations.
ARA Arial Rocket Artillery, also called Cobra Helicopters.
Arc-Light - See: Operations.
Article 15 - A disciplinary action less than court martial.
ARVN - Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam.
AWOL - Absent Without Leave.
Azimuth - A bearing from the North on the compass.


B-40 - A Chinese rocket propelled grenade (RPG).
B-52 - Largest U.S. Air Force Bomber used in Vietnam. Capable of carrying 108 500 lb bombs.
Bac Si - Vietnamese for a medic helping civilians.
Bamboo Viper - The small and deadly snake nicknamed the two-step.
BAR - Browning Automatic Rifle. A .30 automatic weapon.
Bars, John Wayne - Nickname for the chocolate bars in the C-rations pack also called guerilla nuts.
BDA - Bomb Damage Assessment.
Beaucoup - French, meaning, a lot, or very many.
Beehive Round - An explosive artillery shell that contained a nail like projectile "flachet".
Berm - An earthen embankment (normally around a perimeter).
Bien Hoa, Bien Hoa Province, air base and replacement depot for U.S. soldiers.
Bird - An aircraft, normally, a plane or helicopter.
Bird Dog - O-1 reconnaissance plane, used by Forward Air Controllers (FAC).
Black Boxes - Sensors dropped from helicopters during the Vietnam War to detect enemy movement.
Black Bird (hawk) - Nickname of the SR-71 reconnaissance plane, we didn't know existed at the time.
Blasting Cap - A device used to detonate explosive materials.
Bloused - Pants tucked into boots.
Blown-Away - To be killed, or get really high on drugs.
Bn - Battalion.
Body Bag - A black plastic bag used to transport dead personnel.
Boonierat - An infantryman, grunt.
Boonies or Bush - Informal term for the field or jungle.
Booby Trap - An explosive device used to wound or kill personnel. It is estimated that booby traps accounted for 25%-30% of injuries to U.S. military personnel in Vietnam.
Boot - Someone fresh out of Boot Camp or Basic Training.
BOQ - Bachelor Officers' Quarters.
Bouncing Betty - (DH-10) A conical three pronged mine. The bouncing betty mine would jump about three feet in the air when triggered, and explode at waist level.
Bro - Short for Brother.
Buddhist - The religion of the majority of the Vietnamese people.
Buff- B-52 Big Ugly Friendly Fellow.
Buffalo, Water - The big, horned creature often used on a farm in South Vietnam.
Butter bar - A Second Lieutenant.
Buy (bought) the farm - Die, or death.
BX - Base Exchange, also PX Post Exchange.


C-Ration - Combat Ration. Three meals comprised one C-ration. One ration is the food required for one man for one day. There were twelve C-rations in a case in Vietnam. C-1 (C-Ration) had fruit in it in Vietnam. Ham & limas was the least favored C-ration meal in Vietnam.
C-4 - Plastic explosive. It was used to heat C-rations when heat-tabs weren't available.
CA - Combat Assault the air-lift of soldiers into a combat area.
Cam Ranh Bay - A supply depot, and the place where largest U.S. Air Force hospital was located.
Cambodia - Was invaded by the U.S. and South Vietnamese troops, May 1970. 81 U.S. military personnel were reported killed in Cambodia or Laos during the Vietnam war.
Cammies - Camouflaged jungle fatigues, also known as Tiger Stipes, worn by LRRP's.
Cane-pressure mine - Named for the exertion of air on its detonator. The VC/NVA mine placed in the trees to destroy helicopters when dropping off personnel and supplies.
Caribou - C-123 the plane used in Operation Ranch Hand that dumped 11,000 lbs of Agent Orange (defoliant) over 300 acres in just four minutes.
Casualty Staging Areas - The name of the U. S. Air Force hospitals in Vietnam.
CC - Company Commander also CO, command and control.
CDS - Container Delivery System. The manner in which supplies were dropped from aircraft.
Cedar Falls - See: Operations.
Central Highlands, The - Elevations from 100 meters to 1000 meters. The highlands of South Vietnam are a prominent geographic region.
CH-47 - Chinook helicopter.
CH-54 - Skycrane helicopter.
Charlie or Chuck - The enemy, the Viet Cong, VC or Victor Charles.
Charlie Four - C4 plastic explosive.
Cherry - A new person in a unit without combat experience.
Chicken - a term used to describe a member of the 101st Airborne, Vietnamese people did not know what a Bald Eagle was so they called it a Chicken and the Troopers who wore the patch were called Chicken men, a take off on the Screaming Chicken that other units called the Screaming Eagle.
Chi Lai - Known as Surf City in South Vietnam (also an in-county R & R center).
Chicom - Chinese Communist.
Chieu Hoi - Open arms in Vietnamese. A program to encourage defectors from Viet Cong and NVA in 1969-70 in South Vietnam. About 80,000 took advantage of this program. These were called Chieu Hois.
China Beach - Located near Da Nang. An in-country R&R center in the Northern part of South Vietnam.
Chinook - CH-47 helicopter. Outfitted with 50 cal. window guns.
CIA - Central Intelligence Agency, sponsored Air-America in South East Asia.
CID - Criminal Investigation Division.
CIDG - Civilian Irregular Defense Group. Militia forces trained by U.S. Special Forces..
Citadel, The - A rectangular-shaped structure, surrounded by walls in Hue that was home to one time Vietnamese royalty.
Clacker - See: Klacker.
Claymore Mine - Anti-personnel mine that projects shrapnel in a defined pattern.
CO - Commanding Officer; Conscientious Objector.
Cobra - AG-1H assault helicopter.
Cockadau - Vietnamese slang meaning kill.
Coc Muen - Mountain range where FSB Ripcord was located.
Combat Hornet - C-119 (Also Flying Boxcar).
Combat Pay - Added $50 to $65 (per month) to the U.S. military serving in Vietnam.
Commo Check - Communications check on the radio.
Company - A military unit of 250 men at full strength (rarely happened in infantry units)
Concertina Wire - Razor wire used as part of the perimeter defense around most secured areas in Vietnam.
Contact - Engagement with the enemy.
Cooper-Church Amendment - (passed on December 12, 1969) prohibited U.S. military in Laos.
Corps - South Vietnam was divided into four sections (Corps), I through IV. A Corps is a standard military formation consisting of two or more division and supporting artillery, reconnaissance and logistical units. Because the Vietnamese used Coprs to denote a geographical area, the Americans designated their Corps formations Field Force I and Field Force II. However XXIV Coprs was formed in I Corps during the war and assumed control of combat operations there with the withdrawal of the Marines.

  • I Corps - The northern 5 Provinces of South Vietnam made up I Corps. The Demilitarized Zone formed its northern border and Laos was to its west. The A Shau Valley in western I Corps was a major terminus of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and a logistical staging area for the North Vietnamese. The major cities in this area were Quang Tri, Hue, Danag, Tam Ky and Quang Ngai.Throughout most of the war I Corps was the responsibility of the III Marine Amphibious Force, the 101st Airborne, and the Americal Divisions. Unlike the rest of Vietnam, from the outset the war in I Corps was essentially against North Vietnameses regulars, organized as regiments and divisions, and suported by artillery. More than half of all US casualties occurred in I Corps.
  • II Corps - Made up of 15 Provinces directly south of I Corps. II Corps stretched along the Laotian and Cambodian borders and formed the bulge along the seacoast of central South Vietnam. The major cities were Kontum, Pleiku, Ban Me Thout, Da Lat, Qui Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang, and Cam Rahn Bay. The central highlands lie within II Corps. It is a sparsely populated area and the home of a significant percentage of the Montagnards of Vietnam. The heaviest fighting and most frequent combat occurred in the three northern provinces of the Coprs, Kontum, Pleiku, and Binh Dinh. Combat in II Corps involved significant NVA units but also included large nubmers of Viet Cong.
  • III Corps - 10 Provinces were included in III Corps stretching from where the central highlands blended into the flat alluvial plain of the northern Mekong Delta to the Delta itself, and from the Cambodian border in the west past Saigon to the South China Sea. The major cities were Tay Ninh, Bien Hoa and Vung Tau. While it surrounded the Saigon Capital Special Zone, Saigon was not a part of III Coprs.
  • IV Corps - The entire Mekong Delta south of Saigon formed IV Corps. Crisscrossed with canals, rivers, and small watercourses, it is the breadbasket of Vietnam and rice paddies are everywhere. The major cities are My Tho, Ben Tre, Can Tho, Vinh Long, Chau Doc, and Camau. Though heavily infiltrated by the Viet Cong, who had significant base areas in the U Minh Forest at the southern tip of Vietnam and the Plain of Reeds along the Camodian border, the NVA presence in IV Corps remained minimal throughout the war.
  • XXIV Corps - During the Tet Offensive in 1968, General Westmoreland established a MACV - Forward headquarters in I Corps to control the large number of army units transferred there to support the Marines. Immediately following th eTet Offensive, MACA - Forward was redesignated as the US Army Provisional Corps, Vietnam. It was again renamed as the XXIV Corps on August 15, 1968, and placed under the command of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force. The XXIV Corps conducted operations along the Laotian border and southern edge of the Demilitarized Zone in conjunction with Marine units. By March 1970, Army maneuver elements in I Corps out numberd Marine elements by more than three to one. Therefore, as plans wernt forward for the withdrawal of the Marines, XXIV Corps replaced the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force as the command headquarters in I Corps.

Cost - The Vietnam war cost U.S. taxpayers approximately 150 billion dollars.
CP - Command Post.
Crusader - U.S. Navy F-8. Used as a reconnaissance because of its speed and maneuverability.
CQ - Charge of Quarters.
CS - Riot control (tear) gas with a sickening agent.


Dac Cong - VC Special Forces Unit.
Dai-uy - pronounced Die-we, Vietnamese for Captain.
Dai-ta - Vietnamese for Colonel.
Daily-Daily - Daily anti-malaria pill.
Daisy Chain - Detonation cord linking several claymore mines or other explosives together.
Daisy Cutter - A 15,000 pound bomb that would cut down vegetation and personnel for 300 meters. It was used to make an instant fire base.
DD Form 4 - Enlistment contract with U.S. armed services.
DD 214 - Military Transfer or Discharge form.
Da Nang - city in Quang-Nam Province
Decompression - A vast number of nurses observed that decompression time was needed (but not gotten). GIs were quickly returned (individually) to the States after a tour in South East Asia. Part of the Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) problem.
Defoliant - A chemical that is sprayed or dusted on vegetation that cause the leaves to fall off, and vegetation to die. See: Agent Orange.
Delaware - See: Operations.
Delta Dagger - F-102 jet.
DEROS - Date Eligible Return from Overseas.
Desertion - There were only 24 proven cases of battlefield desertion during the Vietnam War.
Desoto - See: Operations.
Det cord - Explosive (Detonation) line for used to daisy chain explosives or claymore mines.
Deuce-and-a-half - A two and a half ton military truck.
Di di mau - pronounced Dee Dee mile, Vietnamese, to send away. Go, or get out.
Diddy boppin' - Slang term when someone moved carelessly without caution.
Dioxin - This toxic chemical substance is second only to nuclear waste in its harm to life. The main ingredient of defoliants (agent orange, etc.) in Vietnam. It has been strongly linked to many cancers and is very harmful to all living things. Chemically known as: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzopara-dioxin.
Dinky Dou - Vietnamese for crazy.
DMZ - Demilitarized Zone. Established between North and South Vietnam - July 22, 1954.
U.S. ground troops could not cross the DMZ due to the Geneva Convention.
Don ganh - Shoulder pole on which Vietnamese women carried goods to market.
Dong - Currency of (North) Vietnam.
Dong Ap Bia - Mountain on Laosian border, also known as Hamburger Hill.
Dong Nai - The river just North of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
Dong Ca Puy - Mountain where FSB Granite was located.
Dong Tam Hanh - Mountain where FSB Maureen and FSB Kathryn were located.
Doper - A person who used illicit drugs.
Donut dollie - The name given a woman Red Cross volunteer in Vietnam.
Dove - A person who is anti-war.
Draft Classification (ca. 1964-1972):

  • 1-A - Draft Classification for eligible to serve.
  • 2-S - Draft Classification for students.
  • 4-F - Draft Classification for medically unable to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
  • 4-A - Military obligation fulfilled, we said the sick, lame and lazy went to war before 4-A's
  • The U.S. military draft ended in 1972.

Drag bombs - Bombs dropped at low level that were perfect for the topography in Vietnam.
Dragonfly - A-37 jet.
DROS - Date Return from Over Seas
DRV - Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam)
Dung burning detail - A rather odoriferous task (for which most enlisted personnel took turns) burning human waste (excrement).
Dust off - A helicopter ambulance also called a medivac, picked up wounded personnel.Originally the radio call sign assigned to the 57th Medical Detachment (Air Ambulance) in 1962, within a very short time "Dustoff" became the universal short hand term for helicopter medical evacuation from the battlefield. As time went on Dustoff and Medevac became synonymous in military parlance


Eagle Beach - 101st R & R area on the South China Sea.
Early out - Discharge prior to commitment release date.
ECM - Electronic countermeasure (radar and other frequency jamming equipment).
Elephant grass - The tall grassy foliage found in abundance in South Vietnam. It has very sharp edges.
Elephant turd - 500 gallon rubber bladder filled with fuel.
Elephant Valley - northern part of the A Shau Valley.
EM - Enlisted Man.
Enhance - See: Operations.
Entrenching Tool - A small collapsible shovel sometimes with an attached pick.
ER - Efficiency Report.
ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival.
ETD - Estimated Time of Departure.
Evans, Camp - base camp for the 1/506th and 2/506th in I Corp, Thua Thien Province.
Expectant - A term for someone who was expected to die.
Extend - Agree to stay in the military beyond commitment date.
Extraction - Removal of military personnel from the field.


F-4 - Phantom jet.
FAC - Forward Air Controller.
FANK - The Cambodia Army (Forces Armees Nationals Khmeres).
Fat City - MACV Head Quarters in Vietnam.
Fatigues - Standard issue uniform (usually olive drab).
Fire Base (FB) - A bunkered, fortified area, also Fire Support Base (FSB).

  • FSB Gladiator
  • FSB Granite
  • FSB Jack
  • FSB Kathyrn
  • FSB Maureen, YD428112, 6 miles SE of Ripcord
  • FSB Mooney
  • FSB Rakkasan
  • FSB Ripcord

Fire Mission - Artillery or mortar fire.
Firefight - Confrontation with the enemy in which a minor, or major battle takes place.
Fishhook - See: Operations.
Fishing Trawlers - The Russian's monitored B-52 bombing runs from Guam to North Vietnam from these craft.
Flak Vest / Jacket - A protective vest worn by U.S. military personnel to protect against shrapnel.
Flexgun - 7.62mm, M60CA1 machine gun.
Flight Time - To a Japanese (U.S.) hospital from Vietnam was 5-7 hours (to the U.S. was 23+ hours).
Flower Children - The proported non-violent hippie movement of the sixties and seventies.
Flying Boxcar - C-119 (Also Combat Hornet).
Flying Telephone Pole - The slang name of the Russian built SA-2 rocket used in Vietnam.
FO - Forward Observer. The man who calls in adjustments for artillery or mortar fire.
Foo Gas - A combination of jet fuel and explosives used to defend a perimeter from VC assault.
Formaldehyde - A chemical in beer used as a preservative in Vietnam.
Frag - Short for fragmentation grenade. See: Fragging.
Fragging - Intentional killing of someone.
Freak - The slang term for a drug-addict, pot head, or society dropout in Vietnam and the U.S.
Free Fire Zone - The name of the area where anything moving could be fired upon during the Vietnam War, every person, building and object in the area was assumed to be the enemy.
Freedom Bird - A U.S. bound plane.
Frequent Wind - See: Operations.
Friendlies - Allies.
FTX - Field Training Exercise.
Funny Money - (MPC) Military Payment Certificate.


G1 - Personnel officer on a general staff.
G2 - Military intelligence officer on general staff.
G3 - Operations officer on a general staff.
G4 - Supply officer on a general staff.
Gecko - A small, green lizard often kept as a pet in Vietnam to catch flies and other insects.
Ghost or Ghosting - Goldbricking, sandbagging, or hiding out in the rear as if not seen.
Ghost Riders - 189th Assault Helicopter Company flew in support of 506th operations.
Gibraltar - See: Operations.
Globemaster - C-124 cargo plane.
Gook - Derogatory term for Vietnamese.
Grease Gun - M-3 sub-machine gun.
Green Backs - U.S. currency was forbidden in Vietnam, but if you did have it, you got a better deal.
Grunts - A term first used during the Vietnam War as slang for ground (infantry) troops.
Guerilla nuts - Nickname for the chocolate bars in the C-rations pack, they were round to fit in a can.
Guerrilla Warfare - The mode of fighting of the VC/NVA in Vietnam.
Gung Ho - A very pro-military person.
Gunship - A helicopter equipped with machine gun(s) and rockets.


H & I - Harassment and Interdictory (artillery or mortar) fire.
Half-Track - An M16 light armored vehicle with .50 cal machine guns.
Haight Ashbury - The area in San Francisco that was originally a center of flower power children, but turned into a run down drug area by the end of the sixties.
Halozone Tablet - Used by U.S. military personnel to purify drinking water obtained from streams and rivers in Vietnam.
Ham & Limas - The least favored C-ration meal in Vietnam.
Hamburger Hill - Major battle fought in A Shau Valley in May 1969, also called Dong Ap Bia Mountain and FSB Destiny.
Hamlet - A village in Vietnam.
Hanoi - The capital of North Vietnam during the war.
Hanoi Hannah - The female Disc Jockey broadcasting from North Vietnam. She babbled on about U.S. atrocities and the Wall Street connection aside from playing music.
Hanoi Hilton - The North Vietnamese prison where American POWs were kept in Hanoi.
Hasting - See: Operations.
Hawk - A pro-war person.
Hawkeye - E2-A, U.S. Navy plane used to direct aerial assaults.
HE - High Explosives.
Head - A person who smoked marijuana, or used other illicit drugs also a restroom in the Navy.
Heat Tab - A smokeless chemical tablet used to heat rations or water.
Helicopter - The U.S. aircraft that was shot down the most, 4,865 of them.
Herbicide - A chemical substance used to destroy, or inhibit the growth of plants, especially weeds. Many herbicides kill by over stimulating growth (hormones). Herbicides can be selective (killing specific plants), or non-selective (killing everything in the area in which they are used).
Hercules - C-130 airplane.
Hill 861 - The hill number made famous in the Battle of Khe Sanh, Hill Numbers - Represented the hill height in meters.
Hippie - The name of those who dropped out of society during the sixties.
Hispanic - Is the largest minority group on the Wall in Washington D.C.
Ho Chi Minh - Vietnamese statesman who declared Vietnam independence (quoting the U.S. Declaration of Independence), September 2, 1942, Ho's real name was Nguyen Ai Quoc.
Ho Chi Minh Sandals - Tire tread foot ware.
Ho Chi Minh Trail, The - A network of trails that began in North Vietnam into Laos, ending in South Vietnam and Cambodia.
Homecoming - See: Operations.
Hon Tre - The island off the coast of Vietnam used for intense Recondo School.
Hooch (hootch) - A small hut where Vietnamese lived. U.S. personnel sometimes referred to their living quarters as such.
Hope, Bob - comedian who was known for entertaining U.S. troops at Christmas time.
Horn, The - The two way radio.
Hostile(s) - The enemy.
Hot - Referred to an LZ or area when enemy troops were in the area and shooting at friendly forces.
Howitzer - A relatively short range, high angle of fire canon with a 105, 115, 155, etc., shell. The canon is named for the man who invented this canon.
HQ - Head Quarters.
Hue - Lotus Flower is the nickname for this Vietnamese city. Largest city in Thua Thien Province. The longest battle of the war was fought here. Between 500 and 5,000 civilians were murdered while the VC held this city.
Huey - UH-1 helicopter, or any of the UH series of helicopter. The difference between a UH-1D and a UH-1B helicopter, four more people could ride in a UH-1D.
Humpin' or hump - Going on patrol in the jungle (bush), or perform any laborious task.
Huskie - HH-43B helicopter used by air rescue teams.


I & R - Intelligence and Reconnaissance patrol.
IG - Inspector General.
Incoming - Enemy artillery and mortar fire that falls with a secured area or friendly positions.
In-country - Being in Vietnam.
Intruder - U.S. Navy A-6A carried 15,000 lbs of payload (bombs).
Iron Triangle, The - The nickname of the area South-West of Saigon during the Vietnam War.


Jack Benny - The number, 39, comedian Jack Benny always claimed to be 39 years old..
Jody or Jake - Slang for the guys who were stealing your girl while you were in Vietnam, or in the military.
Jolly Green Giant - HH-53B (originally, HH-3E) helicopter.
Jolly Rogers Phantom - VF-84 U.S. Navy jet.
Jungle Boots - Military issue footwear. A combination of leather and nylon.
Jungle Penetrator - A device lowered from a hovering chopper to extract someone.
Jungle Utilities - Lightweight tropical military issue fatigues.


K-Bar - A military issue knife.
KC-135 - Aircraft used to refuel fighters after a bombing mission in North Vietnam.
KHA - Killed in Hostile Action. See: KIA
Khe Sanh - The siege began, January 20, 1968, and lasted 77 days.
Khmer Rouge - Cambodian Communists.
KIA - Killed In Action. Two-Thirds of the U.S. military killed in Vietnam were 21 or younger. First American military personnel killed in Vietnam was Lt. Col. Peter Dewey, 1945. At the end of 1965, total KIA in Vietnam was 636; by January 1, 1968, the KIA total was 16,021. The last two U.S. military personnel killed in Vietnam were U.S. Marines on April 29 ,1975, Charles McMahon, Jr. and Darwin Jude. 58,000+ died during the Vietnam war, including eight (8) female military personnel.
Kit Carson Scout - A former VC who performed scout duties for U.S. military.
Klacker - The slang name of the device to detonate a claymore mine.
Klick - The term for one thousand meters, a kilometer.
KP - Kitchen police (patrol), KP duty was helping the cook as a day labor person.


L-T - (eL Tee) A lieutenant.
Land Line - Ground wire communication.
Lam Son - Le Loi, the Vietnamese nationalist who defeated an invading Chinese army in 1428 was born in Lam Son. ARVN forces routinely used the reference Lam Son, followed by a number, as a code-name for their military operations. They believed that it symbolically designated South Vietnam as the true descendants of Vietnamese nationalism.
Lao Dung - The party founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1951. It had been Viet Minh previously.
LAW - M-72 (66mm), Light Assault or Anti-Tank Weapon, see also M-72.
LBJ - Long Bien Jail, not to be confused with the President Lyndon Baynes Johnson.
Leech - Found on land and in the water attached themselves to human body's and engorged on blood.
Leg - Non-airborne military personnel. Short for straight leg. Parachute trained personnel land with their legs slightly bent, not straight.
Lifer - A career military person.
Lima Charlie - Loud and Clear; term used during radio communications.
Linebacker I - See: Operations.
Linebacker II - See: Operations.
Lister Bag - Waterproof (plastic or canvas) drinking water container.
Literacy rate - Among the Vietnamese people in 1960's was 65%.
Little People - derogatory term for the enemy.
Lit-up - Fired upon.
LLDB - Luc Luong Dac Biet. The Vietnamese Special Forces.
Loach - Light Observation Helicopter (OH-6A Cayuse).
Lock 'n' Load - Place a weapon on safety, and prepare (ready) it for firing by placing a round in the chamber.
LOH - Light Observation Helicopter (OH-13) also Loach. Called white, red and blue depending on armament and team grouping.
Long Bien, city near Siagon large U.S. Air Force base was major point of embarkation for U.S. troops near Bien Hoa
Long Nose - a Vietnamese slang name for the Americans.
LRRP - (pronounced lurp) Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol.
LZ - Landing Zone, see also PZ pick up zone.


M-1 - A .30 cal semiautomatic rifle.
M-14 - A rifle issued to U.S. troops in Vietnam until replaced by the M-16.
M-16 - Selective fire automatic rifle carried by the infantry (5.56mm) beginning in the late 60's.
M-203 - Designation for the over-under, M-16 and grenade launcher, used in Vietnam.
M-60 - A light belt-fed machine gun carried at the squad level.
M-72 LAW - light shoulder fired rocket carried by infantrymen, see also LAW.
M-79 - A grenade launcher. Fired 40-mm HE and buckshot rounds. A very effective weapon in Vietnam.
MACV - (pronounced Mac-V) Military Assistance Command Vietnam. The HQ for US advisors to Vietnamese forces.
Mag - Ammunition carrier, Magazine, for the M-16, held 20 rounds.
Mama san - Older Vietnamese woman.
MARS - Military Affiliate Radio Station. One way in which a person in South East Asia could call home.
Medal of Honor (MOH) - 238 were awarded during the Vietnam War among the 2.6+ million who served in Vietnam.
MEDCAP - Medical Civilian Action Projects.
Medevac - Medical evacuation by helicopter. See: Dust-off.
Mekong - The largest river in Vietnam. The Mekong River is the border of Laos and Thailand to Vietnam. The Mekong Delta has more than 4,000 miles of waterways.
Menu - See: Operations.
MIA - Missing In Action. Over 2000 men are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
Mig - Soviet built jet aircraft (Mikoyan-Gurevich) used by the North Vietnamese Air Force. All jets had this first name regardless of model number.
Mig-21 - Gave the F-4s problems during the last years of the Vietnam War.
Military, U.S. -

  • The first American military man killed in Vietnam was Lt. Col. Peter Dewey, 1945.
  • Of the 2.6+ million U.S. military personnel involved in the Vietnam War, 1.6 million were in combat or exposed to combat.
  • Ratio of personnel in-the-bush (humpin') v. the supporters was 1 to 10.
  • The U.S. was officially involved in Vietnam from 1964-1973.
  • U.S. troop strength (in-country) at the peak of the Vietnam War was 542,000.
  • U.S. presence prior to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was advisory.

Millipede - The multi-legged creepy-crawler with a nasty bite (a ten inch one was not rare). The centipede is its cousin in the U.S.
Minigun - 7.62mm, Gatling styled machine gun that could shoot 6,000 rounds a minute.
Minorities - There are 37 in Vietnam.
Mohawk - OV-1 plane.
Monday Pill - Weekly anti-malaria pill.
Monkey - A jungle animal used by Vietnamese mountain tribes to be kept as pets and/or eaten.
Monkey Pod Wood - Easy to carve wood from which useful objects were made throughout South East Asia.
Monsoon (Rainy) Season - July to September in Vietnam. 90% of the rain occurred in Vietnam during this time of the year. The rainy season was a natural occurrence that hampered U.S. troops, but was welcomed by the VC/NVA.
Montagnards - Indigenous people of the highlands in Vietnam. They are much like the American Indians who once roamed the U.S. These nomads were trained as combat troops to seek out VC in the Central Highlands.
Moped - Two-wheeled motor bike introduced to the South Vietnamese as an economical means of transportation.
MOS - Military Occupational Specialty eg: 11B, 11C.
Mosquitoes - The joke was they were big enough to rape a turkey in the U.S.
MPC - Military Payment Certificate also called funny money.


Nam - or, the Nam. Slang for Vietnam among vets of that time.
Nam-Hoa - district is about 50 miles from North Vietnam with the DMZ in between and 100 miles from
Thailand with Laos in between, the largest district in Thua Thien Province.
Napalm - A jelly composed of various fatty acids and gasoline. Dropped for best effectiveness at 100 feet.
NCO - Non-Commissioned Officer; pay grades E-5 through E9.
NCOC, Non Commissioned Officer Candidate School, where shake n bakes came from, also whip n chills.
NCOIC - Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge.
Ngoc Link - The highest peak in South Vietnam.
Nguyen Ai Quoc - Ho Chi Minh's original name.
Nickel - The number 5.
Nine Rules of Conduct - Issued by MACV. Each person entering Vietnam (or South East Asia country) was given a card with these rules on it. These rules could be used against you at a military trial.
NLF - National Liberation Front.
No hear; No see; No know - The 3 No's of the North Vietnamese Army.
Noncom - Slang for an NCO.
Nouc Mam - Fermented fish, and sauce (it stinks to most westerners, but doesn't taste too bad). Nouc Mam (sauce) and rice was a food staple for the VC/NVA soldier.
Number One - Good or Best.
Number Ten - Worst.
NVA - North Vietnamese Army. Soldiers were paid $12 (US equivalent) per month no matter what rank.


OCS - Officer Candidate School.
OD - Olive Drab, color of Army uniforms and equipment.
OJT - On-The-Job-Training, second phase of NCO School.
One-O-Five - 105mm howitzer.
OP - Observation Post.
Op Order - Operation(s) order, sometimes, OPORD.
OPCON - Operational Control.
Operations, Vietnam - There were 45 U.S. operations that occurred from March 1965 through December 1967 in South Vietnam.

  • Arc-Light - A B-52 bombing mission in Vietnam.
  • Apace Snow - Slang name Hamburger Hill was used by military personnel fighting it in May-June 1969 during this operation.
  • Cedar Falls - Took place in the Iron Triangle.
  • Delaware - Took place in 1968 (after Tet) in which a large cache of ammunition, etc., was captured and destroyed (thus preventing another invasion like the earlier Tet).
  • Enhance - Last supply mission to support President Thieu of South Vietnam.
  • Fishhook - Began in May-June 1970, in Cambodia to search out VC/NVA.
  • Flaming Dart - Ordered as retribution by President Johnson for an attack on the base at Pleiku in February 1965. This was a prelude to a major escalation of U.S. involvement.
  • Frequent Wind - The final mission in South Vietnam to airlift U.S. personnel and select Vietnamese in 1975.
  • Gibraltar - The first major battle in South Vietnam involving U.S. Army personnel.
  • Hasting - Took place on the DMZ (by the Marines) in 1966. There were 126 KIAs and 448 wounded during this massive battle.
  • Homecoming - The transition of POWs to the USA after being held in North Vietnamese captivity for so long.
  • Linebacker I - Resumption of bombing of North Vietnam by Nixon, 1972.
  • Linebacker II - The bombing mission around Christmas 1972 (it was the heaviest bombing of the Vietnam War). This bombing operation brought the North Vietnamese back to the bargaining table Christmas 1972.
  • Phoenix - The campaign to eliminate the infrastructure of the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
  • Pierce Arrow - The first bombing mission launched in the South China Sea against North Vietnam in August 1964 (after the Tonkin Gulf Incident).
  • Ranch Hand - The operation that began dropping Agent Orange on areas of South Vietnam.
  • Rolling Thunder - The bombing missions in North Vietnam from 1965 through November 1968.
  • Starlite - The first regimental battle since Korea staged in Vietnam, August 1965.
  • Steel Tiger - Bombing attacks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, 1965.

CAMPAIGNS * The 506th participated in these campaigns and operations.

Vietnam Advisory 1962-1965
Vietnam Defense 1965
Vietnam Counteroffensive 1965-1966
Vietnam Phase II 1966-1967
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase III 1967-1968 *
Tet Counteroffensive 1968 *
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase IV 1968 *
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase V 1968 *
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VI 1968-1969 *
Tet 69 Counteroffensive 1969 *
Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969 *
Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 *
Sanctuary Counteroffensive 1970 *
Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase VII 1970-1971 *
Consolidation I 1971 *
Consolidation II 1971-1972 *
Vietnam Cease-Fire 1972-1973


Rose * Phan Rang Oct 1967
Klamath Falls * Song Mao/Bao Loc Nov-Dec 1967
Jeb Stuart * Quang Tri Jan-Mar 1968
Carentan I * Hue Mar 1968
Carentan II * Hue Apr-May 1968
Deleware * A Shau Valley Apr-May 1968
Nevada Eagle * Thua Thien Province Mar-Aug 1969
Somerset Plain * A Shau Valley Aug 1968
Kentucky Jumper * Thua Thien Province Mar-Aug 1969
Massachusetts Striker * A Shau Valley Mar 1-May 8, 1969 the 101st Air Cavalry uncovered massive amounts of supplies and discovered a major supply base that contained a complete field hospital and a heavy machine repair facility.
Apache Snow * A Shau Valley May 10-June 7 1969 Follow up to Operations Dewey Canyon (Marine Operation) and Massachusetts Striker. It was designed to disrupt NVA infiltration activities in the A Shau Valley and put pressure on their logistical infrastructure. Involved the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Air Cavalry Division, the 9th US Marine Regiment and the 3rd Regiment of the ARVN 1st Infantry Division.
Lamar Plain * Tam Ky May-Aug 1969
Montgomery Rendezvous * A Shau Valley Jun-July 1969
Richland Square * Thua Thien Province Aug-Sep 1969
Republic Square * Thua Thien Province Sep-Dec 1969
Saturate * Thua Thien Province Oct-Dec 1969
Randolph Glen * Thua Thien Province Dec 1969-Mar 1970
Texas Star * Thua Thien Province Apr 1, 1969-Sept 5, 1970 a joint operation between the 101st Airborne Division and the ARVN 1st Infantry Division. Its purpose was to regain the initiative in the mountains east of the A Shau Valley. The fighting was heavy throughout the entire period, but the intensity steadily increased during late June and early July couminating with the battle for FSB Ripcord.
Jefferson Glen * Thua Thien Province Sep 1970-Oct 8, 1971 the last major US ground combat operation of the war. the 101st Airborne Division began establishing firebases in the coastal lowlands of Thua Thien Province. The purpose was to shield critical installations in Hue and Danang by patrolling communist rocket belts along the edge of the mountains.
Lam Son 719 * A Shau Valley/Laos Mar-May 1971 a task force of 15,000 ARVN troops invaded Laos with two objectives. First was to capture Tchepone the key transshipment point on the Ho Chi Minh Trail 25 miles west of Khe Sanh. The second was to sever the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Lam Son 810 * A Shau Valley Sep 1971

OSI - Office of Special Investigations (USAF).
Otter - U-1, U.S. Army plane used for light transport in South Vietnam.
OV-10 - Bronco; a reconnaissance, close air support twin engine plane.


P-38 - A folding metal can opener that was approximately an inch-and-a-half long came with C-rations.
Pacification - A MACV proposal to win over the local Vietnamese populace.
Papa San - Older Vietnamese male.
Paris Peace Accord - Ended the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and signed by Richard Nixon, January 1973.
Pathet Lao - Laotian Communist Guerrillas (Brothers to the North Vietnamese Communists).
PAVN - People's Army of Vietnam (NVA).
PBR - Patrol Boat, River (was specifically designed for waters of Vietnam). Only 10% PBRs were removed from service because of combat damage.
Pedicab - A common mode of transportation in Vietnam with passengers (two) riding in the front.
Pentagon Papers - A secret study requested by President Johnson. The U.S. government disclosure fed fuel to the anti-war sediment in the U.S. (as well as the world). The writers of this document discouraged U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
PFC - Private First Class.
Phased Departure - The governmental term for U.S. military troop withdrawal.
Phoenix - Helicopter company which flew in support of the 1/506th, also see: Operations.
Phu Bai - City in Thua Thien Province home for the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters.

Phonetic Alphabet - Used in communications (radio and land line).

Letter WW II Nato
A Able Alpha
B Baker Bravo
C Charlie Charlie
D Dog Delta
E Easy Echo
F Fox Fox-Trot
G George Golf
H How Hotel
I Item India
J Jig Juliet
K King Kilo
L Love Lima
M Mike Mike
N Nancy November
O Obeo October
P Peter Papa
Q Queen QueBec
R Roger Romeo
S Sugar Sierra
T Tare Tango
U Uncle Uniform
V Victor Victor
W William Whiskey
X X-Ray X-Ray
Y Yoke Yankee
Z Zebra Zulu

Piasters or Ps - South Vietnamese currency (slang was Ps).
Platoon - A military unit compossed of approximately 40 personnel.
PLF - Parachute Landing Fall.
Plt - Platoon.
Point - The name for the first man on patrol in a squad (or unit).
Poncho - A military issue garment green and supposely water proof used to keep military personnel (relatively) dry during rains in South East Asia.
Poppy - A South East Asian plant from which heroin is made.
POW - Prisoner Of War. The POWs who refused to talk to Jane Fonda were tortured when she visited Hanoi in 1972.
POW/MIA - Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action. February 23, 1973 - The first of several POW/MIAs were released (but not all). Betty Olsen and Eleanor Vetti were female POWs (Red Cross workers) who were later killed. The vast majority of POW/MIAs are pilots. The Air Force has the most POW/MIAs.
PRC-25 - The portable FM radio used in Vietnam.
PRC-77 - (The Monster) A radio used in Vietnam with a secure frequency.
Profile - A medical excuse from duty.
Provinces - South Vietnam is divided in to these defined geographic areas.
PSP - Perforated Steel Plating. Used for construction projects from airstrips to bridges to helicopter landing pads, Protective Steel Plating had no holes.
PT - Physical Training.
PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Dysfunction). A psychological condition that occurs after a stressful situation (e.g., war, accident, rape, robbery, etc.). PTSD is characterized by anxiety, depression, guilt, sorrow (or grief), a sense of shame, death anxiety, panic, low self-esteem, rage, and/or any combination of these. Treatment varies with the severity, and willingness of the person to seek help.
Puff - The Magic Dragon from the song, a AC-47 equiped with several mini-guns and flares.
Pugil Stick Training - Prepared military personnel for bayonet fighting.
Punji Stick - A sharpened bamboo stick meant to be stepped on by non-VC.
PX - Post Exchange also BX base exchange.
PZ - Pickup Zone (helicopter), also see LZ landing zone.


Quang Tri - South Vietnamese Province just below the DMZ in I Corps.
Quantitative Indices - Body counts. This is what Robert McNamara used to run the Vietnam War.


R&R - Rest and recreation, recuperation.
Ranch Hand - See: Operations.
Rao Trang River - in the valley from FSB Ripcord past FSB Granite, Maureen and Kathryn to A Shua.
Rappel - Descend a rope.
Rat - A meat staple that was dried and sold in markets throughout South East Asia. This wild creature could kill a cat in the U.S., and give a domestic U.S. dog a hard time. An uninvited guest (rodent) in many base camp bunkers.
Recon - Reconnaissance.
Red Bird - Nickname for the Cobra, AG-1H assault helicopter.
Red Cross - This organization had more women stationed in Vietnam than three branches of the U.S. military (excluding the Army). Held the contact for U.S. military personnel who needed to get a message State-side.
Red Sand - The distinct soil coloration of the Can Ranh Bay region.
Redball - Enemy high speed trail or road.
Red Hats - U.S. advisors to the Vietnamese believed to be SOG, CIA or Spooks.
Redlegs - Slang term for artillerymen.
Revetment - Sandbagged or earthen barrier.
Rice - Main product and staple food of the Vietnamese. The basis of the economy of Vietnam. Rice & Rubber are the major export crops of Vietnam.
Rice Beetle - A dark colored bug that many considered delectable eating in South East Asia. Most often found around rice paddies.
Rice Paddy - The common gardening spot for the major crop grown in Vietnam. Dikes surround these water filled areas.
RIF - Reduction In Force or Recon In Force (in Vietnam).
Ring Knocker - A West Point grad.
River Rat - Navy patrol boats and Seawolf choppers were in this group.
Rock 'n' roll - Fire a weapon (usually an M-16) on full automatic.
Rocks - Military personnel from Republic of Korea (ROK).
Roger - Radio communications term for understand or agree.
ROK - Republic of Korea.
Rolling Thunder - See: Operations.
Roman Catholic - The religion of the people that held 95% of the wealth, but only comprised about 5% of the population in South Vietnam.
ROTC - Reserve Officer Training Course. The principle source of commissioned officers in all services.
Round-eyes - A slang name for American women.
Route 1 - The name of the highway that went through Hue, north and south.
Route 9 - The road from Hue to Khe Sanh it continued on to Quang Tri.
RPD - Communist standard issue machine gun (replaced by the AK-47), 7.62mm.
RPG - Rocket Propelled Grenade (B-40 - Chinese).
RTO - Radio Telephone Operator.
RVN - Republic of Vietnam.
Ruck or Rucksack - A backpack.
Rules of Engagement - A rather arbitrary set of rules that seemed to consistently change at the whim of politics.
Rumor Control - An amazingly accurate source of information prior to an event occurring.
Rusk, Dean - U.S. Secretary of State in 1966.
Russia - Supplied 90% of war materials used by North Vietnam during the war. Monitored B-52 bombing runs from Guam to North Vietnam from fishing trawlers.


S & D - Search and Destroy. This was the tactic of General Westmoreland. An operational method used to ravage enemy strongholds, but not occupy an area.
Saigon - The name of the present day Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, previously, the capital of South Vietnam.
SAM - Surface to Air Missile.
Sandpan - A common means of river transportation for the Vietnamese.
Screaming Eagles - 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) U.S. Army.
Script - See: MPC
Search and Destroy, or S&D - This was the tactic of General Westmoreland. An operational method used to ravage enemy strongholds, but not occupy an area.
Shape Charge - An explosive device that detonates in a predetermined direction.
Shake-'n-bake - A soldier who went to basic training and AIT, then to NCO school and arrived in country as an NCO with relatively no time in service.
Sapper - NVA special forces soldier known for their stealth in attacks on fortifications like fire bases.
Satchel Charge - An rectangular explosive device with a strap for throwing used by VC/NVA
Shawnee - CH-21 helicopter.
Short - Few days remaining in service, or Vietnam.
Sin Loi - Vietnamese (slang) for sorry, that's too bad, or tough luck.
SITREP - Situation Report.
Skated - (As in, I skated) Have it easy; normally in the rear, interchangable with Ghosting.
SKS - Communist Simonov semiautomatic rifle used by VC/NVA, 7.62mm.
Sky Pilot - The slang name for a chaplain in Vietnam.
Skycrane - CH-54 helicopter.
Skyhawk - A-4 jet.
Skyraider - A1-E plane.
Slackman - Second man in a patrol, directly behind the point.
SLAM - Search, Locate, Annihilate, Monitor.
Slick - UH-1D helicopter; troop carrying helicopter.
Snake - Slang for a Cobra gunship.
SOG - Studies & Observation Group (or, Special Operations Group) aka CIA or Spooks.
SOI - Signal Operating Instructions code book contained call signs and frequencies of most military units.
Song Bo River - from the City of Hue to the Rao Trang River on the eastern edge of the Ashau Valley.
SOP - Standard Operating Procedure.
Soul Brother - A black soldier (African American or Afro American).
South China Sea - The body of water directly East of Vietnam
Spider Hole - An enemy (VC) firing from the opening of a tunnel complex.
Spooky - AC-47 also known as Puff The Magic Dragon, equipped with several miniguns.
Squad - A military unit of twelve (9-12) personnel.
SR-71 - A U.S. top secret spy plane used during the Vietnam era.
Stand Down - Return from the field to a fire base or base camp to rest and resupply.
Starfighter - F-104 jet.
Starlifter - C-141 jet.
Starlight scope - Night vision scope.
Starlite - See: Operations.
Steel pot - A helmet.
Strak - Adherence to strict military code, and dress.
Super Constellation - C-121. WWII vintage plane rigged with radar and electronics. The EC-121 (Early-Warning-Radar equipped plane) broadcast a code yellow when it detected movement of enemy aircraft in North Vietnam.
Supersabre - F-100 jet.
Surrender - The South Vietnamese surrendered on April 30, 1975, to the VC/NVA.


Tadpole - Nickname for the OH-6 helicopter.
Tarmac - The hard surface of landing strips, helipads, etc, asphalt.
Tay Nguyen - The Vietnamese name for the Central Highlands.
TC - Tactical Commander.
TCDD - Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (also 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin). A family of dioxins that contain four (4) chlorine atoms each.
TDY - Temporary Duty.
Tee-tee - Very small or little.
Tet - The beginning of the Vietnamese New Year. January 31, 1968 - The first invasion of Saigon occurred (the beginning of Tet). A turning point with U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Approximately 60% of the North Vietnamese Army were presumed to be destroyed during the 1968 Tet. This offensive left approximately 14,000 Vietnamese civilians dead.
Thich Quang Duc - A Buddhist monk who burnt himself to death in June 1968 over policies imposed by the South Vietnamese government.
Thua Thien - Province, northern I Corp, Districts include: Nam-Hoa, Phu Loc, Phong Diem, Houng Tri, Phu-Vong, Quang Diem, Huog Diem, -Thuy
Thump gun (or thumper) - M-79 Grenade Launcher.
Thunderchief - F-105 jet.
Tieu-uy - pronounced Tie we, Vietnamese for 2nd Lieutenant.
Tieu-ta - Vietnamese for Major.
Tiger Suit - The camouflage suits worn by South Vietnamese military and U.S. Rangers and LRRPs.
Tinh - Vietnamese word meaning Province
TL - Team Leader.
Tobasco (Hot) Sauce - U.S. product used by Vietnamese rather than Nouc Mam, or in addition to Nouc Mam. Also used by U.S. military personnel to liven up the flavor of C-Rations.
TOC - Tactical Operations Center.
Toe popper - U.S. antipersonnel (plastic explosive) mine designed to wound rather than kill.
Tonkin Gulf Incident - Two US Navy destroyers, the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy, were fired upon by North Vietnamese PT boats, August 2, 1964. This began the U.S. involvement in Vietnam in a major way. The USS Maddox ship was boarded by several anti-war women during the Summer of 1966 while in dry dock in California.
Top - or Top Sergeant normally, a First Sergeant or Sergeant Major.
Tracer - An electronically equipped Navy plane. A bullet or shell that leaves a trail of smoke or fire.
Triage - The medical term meaning sorting for treatment of wounded often performed by nurses in Vietnam.
Troops - U.S. troop strength at the peak of the Vietnam War was 542,000 in-country military personnel.
Tropical Monsoon - The climate of Vietnam.
Trung-uy - Vietnamese for 1st Lieutenant.
Trung-ta - Vietnamese for Lieutenant Colonel.
Tunnel rat - A person who crawled into VC tunnel systems.
Two Step - The name of the small and deadly bamboo viper (snake).
Typhoon - Asian/Pacific name for a hurricane.


U2 - A spy plane located in Saigon area used to photograph SAM sites, etc., in North Vietnam during the early part of the Vietnam War. Gary Powers was shot down in this type of plane over Russia in the 60s.
UCMJ - Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Uncle Ho - Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam.


Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Army Hospital.
VC - Viet Cong; Vietnamese Communist.
VC/NVA soldier - Profile: 5'3" tall, 115-120 lbs., Buddhist, and single.
Viet Minh - Ho Chi Minh created this party in 1941.
Vietnam: in the 1990's

  • Land area is approximately the size of New Mexico.
  • Located on the Asian continent.
  • Population estimated to be 58,000,000 in 1990.
  • Weather - Tropical-Monsoon climate. 40 Fahrenheit is the coolest temperature in Vietnam (in the valley/Mekong areas) during December-January.
  • Religious freedom is suppressed by the current government.
  • The official language is Vietnamese. It is monosyllabic and belongs to the Mon-Khmer family.
  • Education is compulsory for children ages 6 to 11. Vietnam boosts a 94% literacy rate.
  • Only 15% of the population has access to safe drinking water (a warning for travelers).
  • Per capita income is 175 (US) dollars annually.

Vietnam Monument - (the Wall) in Washington D.C. was dedicated Veteran's Day, 1982.
Vietnamese - 25% of the rural (Vietnamese) population became refugees during the war. 518,000 were (estimated to be) killed during the war.
Vietnamization - The plan by Nixon to turn the war over to the South Vietnamese military while the U.S. withdrew from the conflict with honor.
VooDoo - F-101, a high flying jet used to photograph North Vietnam.
VR - Visual Reconnaissance.


WAC - Woman's Army Corp. Female U.S. Army personnel not in the medical branches.
Waste - Kill.
White Bird - A LOH (OH-6 helicopter).
Whitewalls - A military haircut, short on top and close on sides.
WIA - Wounded In Action.
Wild Weasel - F-105F jet.
Willie Peter, Willie Pete, Willie Papa, WP - A white phosphorus grenade, mortar or artillery round.
Withdrawal - All U.S. troops were to be withdrawn from Vietnam by August 1972.
Women -

  • 11,000 U.S. women served in Vietnam during the war years.
  • 1st Lt. Hegwig (Heddy) Orlowski, a nurse, was killed in Vietnam, Nov. 30, 1967, along with two others with the same military occupation (nurse) on board a helicopter. Heddy was from Michigan.
  • 36 U.S. Marine women served in Vietnam from 1965 through 1973. The least of all military branches.
  • The combat occupation of pilot was prohibited to U.S. military women during the Vietnam War.
  • Eight (8) women (U.S. Veterans) appear on the Vietnam Memorial, the Wall, in Washington D.C.
  • No women deserted from service in Vietnam.
  • The average age of the U.S. military female in Vietnam was 23.
  • The rank of the U.S. (military) women killed in Vietnam was officer.
  • The U.S. Air Force had the most women serve in Vietnam.
  • U.S. Army nurses were assigned to the 44th Medical Brigade in Vietnam.
  • U.S. military female classifications were nurses, or administrative.

World, The - The United States, home, or anywhere other than Vietnam.


X-Ray Team - Communications relay unit.
Xe Pong - The river flowing from Laos through Khe Sanh and Quang Tri.
XO - Executive Officer.


Yippie - Youth International Party. A radical anti-war group lead by Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.


Zama - Camp Zama, Japan, Army hospital
Zap - Kill.
Zippo - A flame thrower.


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