Army code

by Jessie K on January 21, 2012

The Army is big into acronyms, so big that listening to two soldiers talk is like listening to two drunks try to recite the alphabet backwards:

“I took my APFT test then my NCO went AWOL. I took our ANCOC over at the AOO and then we all went out for KFC…”

I think the acronym OD is because the Army is, for better or worse, bloated and bureaucratic, instilling a need to make things seem more important and complicated than they are.

So instead of a “the gym,” the Army will call it something  like “the Physical Re-engineering Maintenance Facility,” or PRMF for short, even though “PRMF” is precisely two syllables longer than “the gym.”  And instead of “a backpack,” they’ll call it  an “all-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment,” or ALICE.  (“My back is killing me from carrying ALICE all day.”)

Nobody outside the military knows what the heck soldiers are talking about when they speak but maybe that’s the point. Perhaps acronyms are a deliberate form of code, a strategy for making the military seem more stealthy and secretive than it actually is.

I bring this up is because I received an email from Jake informing me that his “NCOIC for the FSD” has purchased a copy of my book, Rurally Screwed, for his wife.

I think this is good news….though I can’t be sure.

Regardless of the confusion, some acronyms have infiltrated the American lexicon that will never go away because they’re just that good.  (Readers with tender eyes may want to look away.)

Three of my favorites:

SNAFU:  Situation Normal: All F*&$ed Up   Sample sentence:  “There’s been another SNAFU with the mashed potatoes in the chow hall.”

FUBAR:  F*&$ed Up Beyond All Recognition     Sample sentence:  “Colonel Smith’s Power Point presentation was FUBAR, per usual.”

BCD:  Birth Control Device    See:  the Gomer Pyle-esque Army issue spectacles:

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