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Expression and terms used by US soldiers



US soldiers use various terms and expressions in their communication

The most recent wars where US Military have taken part have brought a lot to this new world, and perhaps in all areas, especially wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With high intensity of engagement in hostile areas, it was crucial to simplify communication with new terms / acronyms. We have created a list of shortcodes which are associated with the action of the coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. For each expression and term we added brief explanations and translations.

Angel (Anjel) soldier killed in combat. Usually, the term used by some health care professionals, like combat medics.
Battlefield Airmen Battlefield designation for members of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Their task is to rescue downed pilots, ensuring control of the battlefield, weather reports. The term is relatively a new one, even though the Airmens perform their duties for years.
Battle Rattle This is almost 50 pounds of equipment, clothing, over a vest, helmet and ammunition to the guns.
BIAP Baghdad International Airport , thus Baghdad International Airport.
Bombaconda Nickname for Anaconda base which is near the town of Balad. It got name due frequent mortar attacks by militants.
CC Country Coalition, that coalition country. Country who participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, called together. “Coalition of the willing”.
CHU Containerized Housing Unit.
CHUville Base / opinion consisting of several CHU.
Death Blossom Frequent and unfortunate practice of Iraqi security forces when faced with the enemy. The experience of coalition troops is when they become the target of Iraqi soldiers even a weak fire either flee or run a massive fire in all directions, and it is called Death Blossom.
DFAC Dining facilities.  DFAC tend to be well equipped (standard part of the TV), and often ornate decorative style cafes (eg sports trophies).
Dirt Sailor Label for units of Navy’s Construction Battalions. In Iraq, the term began to be used in conjunction with seafarers who fulfill the role of a typical seaman.
FOB Forward Operating Base, thus outpost operational base.
FOB Taxi The car that never leaves the FOB spaces.
Fobbit A soldier, for example. technician, who never abandons security fob.
FRAGO Fragmentary order, something like “rip command.” In essence, the abbreviated form of an operational command. It is usually issued on a daily routine. Facilitates overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, but unlike operating order (OPORD), must be based on other orders.
Frankenstein Vehicles Marines have been added to the users according to their own needs, especially additional armor. Led them to poor preservation of the original vehicle. Of the 30 000 vehicles deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan in December 2004, 8,000 did not have absolutely no armor protection. Only 6000 could be described as a fully armored, and 10 000 were equipped with various protective accessories.
Green Zone Heavily guarded area in central Baghdad, located where several important buildings of the former regime. It is often known as the safest place in Iraq. Located where many state institutions and diplomatic missions in certain countries.
Gun truck Heavily armored and armored vehicles to protect convoys.
GWOT Global War On Terrorism, therefore, the global war against terrorism.
Haji [Haj] armor Improvised vehicle armor for the Iraqi security forces (usually Humvee). It is actually any metal plate attached to the vehicle.
Haji mart Any small shop selling things led Iraqis to foreigners.
Haji patrol Patrol of tribes loyal to the Baghdad government.
Haji shop Actually sell everything from cigarettes to pirated CD / DVD inside the wire. Owned by locals.
Hillbilly armor Improvised armor literally from scrap. The soldiers often searched the trash to find a suitable steel plates, use them as a shield. Name obtained through 278th regimental combat team of the National Guard, State of Tennessee. Its member Specialist Thomas Wilson became famous when summoned up enough courage, and frankly asked Donald Rumsfeld, during one of his visits to Iraq, why should American soldiers dig in the trash to find the means to defend itself. It was probably one of the most important incentives to “armor” units operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.
IED Improvised explosive device, almost most used weapon in attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan
ICDC Iraqi Civil Defence Corps
Inside a wire The term applied to the designation of any U.S. base perimeter.
ITGA Interim Transitional Government of Afghanistan, offical Afghan government.
KAF Kandahar Air Field, Kandahars airport, the main Allied base in southern Afghanistan.
KBR Kellogg, Brown & Root, the largest contractor working for US-led coalition forces.
LN Local National, usually a local person associated with the coalition forces.
Mortaritaville Another name for Anaconda base.
My [Mudzi] Abbreviation for the word mujahedin. From about 2005, the term generally used for Iraqi insurgents by regular coalition forces.
Outside the wire The area outside the FOB, a security perimeter.
OEF Operation Enduring Freedom
OGA Short for Other Government Agency, meant CIA.
OIF Operation Iraqi Freedom
POG People Other than Grunts, tulle security units.
PRT Provintional Reconstruction Team, ie Provincial Reconstruction Team. Usually, the civilian workers who are there to coordinate the work and provide humanitarian assistance.
PSD Personal Security Detail, even to the name of the private security agencies.
Red on red Friendly fire among enemy forces, enemy fire at the enemy. Phenomenon usually in Iraq, and reported few times in recent years.
Remfland Area where support staff live and work under security measures.
Shake and bake A designation for bomb attack. It coming back from Vietnam (Shake and fry.)
TCN Third Country National, that third country. Residents of a neutral country working for coalition forces. Usually, non-military personnel (workers, drivers).
TCP TCP stand for Traffic Control Point, a checkpoint used to ensure control over the same area.
VBIED Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device, usually recognized as a car bomb.

The war against terrorism is going on, so the US military improvizations, this is not the only and not the final list of terms and expressions used by US soldiers to simplify communication on the battlefield.



How Special Forces soldiers are trained to handle combat



Special Forces soldiers undergo a selection procedure which eliminates mentally weak soldiers from further participation while their later training is aimed at bolstering the mental fitness and durability of the candidates who have successfully passed the selection.

Boot camps and selection courses are designed to wipe out the mentally weak candidates, not the physically inept soldiers. Everybody can obtain physical fitness through training, therefore most military boot camps, as tough and physically demanding they are, don’t focus primarily on the physical.

All of the running and obstacle courses serve a different purpose: They tire the soldier out. Exhaustion and the constant pressure not to fail the many physical fitness requirements exert psychological pressure on the candidates. Add to this sleep deprivation, lack of food, a constant insecurity if you made it and what’s going on, nightly alarms and a lot of screaming: The army tries to find your breaking point.

US Special Forces Group and ANA Commando during Operation Enduring Freedom

Some military organizations go even further. The French Foreign Legion regards it as their mission to first completely break the recruit and then build him up according to the Legion’s own requirements.

From the moment the candidate didn’t break and made it through the selection course, the military starts using a completely different approach. Now everything is done to further build up and bolster the soldier’s mental strength.

And like in boot camp and selection courses, the military chooses an indirect approach. None of their methods aims directly at improving the soldier’s mental strength, but all of them combined will exactly achieve this goal.

Group spirit: Every Special Forces member knows that they are part of a very small elite. This thought bolsters their ego: Believing in yourself is the basis for mental strength.

Trust: Constant training and deployments with your unit let you form bonds. In Special Forces units nobody “pulls rank.” What’s in your head, who you are and your abilities are more important than your pay grade. When you know that you can trust the guys around you and your commanding officers as well, it’s less likely that you’ll freak out in combat.

Training: Learning and acquiring all sorts of special skills strengthens the soldier’s confidence in his own capabilities. Soldiers who have confidence in their abilities are more resilient and are less likely to panic.

Peer pressure: For a professional soldier there is nothing worse than to be deemed “mentally not resilient” by his comrades or leaders. If you lose your nerves in a combat situation you better request a transfer to another unit. This attitude is a part of life in every Special Forces unit around the world.

Even if you don’t feel cool at all in a combat situation, you will have to fake it. Then your buddies think you are the man, which will also make them more calm (Trust), while at the same time their approval will bolster your ego (Group spirit).

End result: Everybody is cool and levelheaded and continues the mission.

Some people say that combat experience also contributes to improve mental strength, but this is only partially true. I’ve been in combat with guys who lost their calm during a fight and became a burden to us. Usually, we would give them another chance to prove their combat worth as it was their first time. The next time we came under fire, none of them showed any improvement.

US soldiers use various terms and expressions in their communication

US Army Special Forces

Combat experience won’t give you mental strength if you haven’t had it the first time. On the other hand, if you are already a resilient person, a new combat situation might make you even tougher—up to a certain point.

There is a breaking point for every combat soldier and too much pressure, regardless if applied in training or experienced on the battlefield, might destroy all confidence and leave a mental wreck behind. Therefore, military leaders have to be very careful when it comes to assessing the mental strength of their soldiers.

In training that means that sometimes you have to “row back” when it becomes obvious that the candidates are mentally on the edge, while in combat it means to closely monitor the mental “reserves” of your unit and relieve troops before any harm is done.

Answer from Roland Bartetzko, former German Army paratrooper, Croatian Defense Council, Kosovo Liberation Army. The answer was originally published on Quora.

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How do the U.S. Navy SEALs and the British SAS differ?



navy seal charlie keating IV killed in Iraq

All the time the people asking about the difference between U.S. Navy SEALs and British Special Air Service (SAS). In a first manner, people think that they are very similar but that is not true. In fact, US Navy SEALs could be easier compared to British Special Boat Service (SBS) while the Delta would be more appropriate to compare with SAS.

But if you still want to read about the difference between Navy SEAL’s and SAS then it is much less than is being played upon here. The Naval aspect (i.e. boats, scuba) or comparison to SAS is primarily semantics and a tiny part of what SEALs do. 90% of SEAL training is directly correlatable to SAS training.

The Navy SEAL’s participate in every role the SAS participate in for the UK and the reverse is true with the small exception of waterborne exercises which is probably less than 10% of all SEAL activity. Being able to insert undetected via SDV is simply an extra methodology for getting to the target that SAS are unlikely to share. Navy SEALs just spent a decade in Afghanistan and scuba obviously wasn’t a part of it.

The one real difference that I have seen is that SAS has been used more extensively inside the UK. Only Red Cell (a small detachment of SEAL Team Six before it was DevGru) was given the operational leeway to train for action on US soil. In the United States of America, Delta might be the only unit with legal authority to act on US soil. The SAS saw a lot of action in northern Ireland during the 70’s and 80’s which under similar circumstances might have been handled by the FBI for the US.

Navy SEALs come from the water warfare doctrine trained to carry out special operations in, around, and over water.

SAS comes from the doctrine of Direct Action Paramilitary Assaults. That being said. SAS were trained to carry out assaults on enemy’s HVTs, AAWs, compounds and strategic outposts.

US Navy SEALs first stepped on the spotlight in Vietnam era (war) and they were at the time an Unconventional warfare unit tasked to acquire Intel and strike OPFOR key targets.

Analyzing all these data, my personal conclusion, looking at the bigger picture, would be that the only difference between them is the type of training. The way they train. And the mindset & Way of doing “things”.

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