From The Soldier's Handbook, DA Pam 21-13, 1 June 1966
Soldiers have an interesting and colorful vocabulary. As soldiers, we use many terms for things that are different from the terms used by civilians. With time and experience, this vocabulary grows. Here are a few of the more common words that you will hear often:
In buildings we find:
LATRINES - not bathrooms; heads; toilets or privies.
SQUAD BAYS (ROOMS) - are large rooms or cubicles where men live.
BUNKS - are beds.
FOOT AND WALL LOCKERS - ore containers to keep your equipment and personal gear in.
Around a mess hall we find:
MESS HALL - where we oil go to eat
CHOW - the food we eat.
K.P.'s - are men detailed for kitchen police.
D.R.O. - a man detailed as dining room orderly.
MESSING - to eat a meal.
When we talk of places, we may say;
P.X. - meaning the Post Exchange.
WOODS (BOONDOCKS OR BUSH) - field training area.
These items apply to our uniform or personal property:
TROUSERS - not pants.
PERSONAL GEAR - your personal property.
PONCHO - is a coated nylon cloth used as a personal rain cape.
DOG TAGS - two metal identification tags, worn while in the field, aboard aircraft and when reporting for medical aid.
When referring to certain people we say:
COMMANDING OFFICER - not names which could be considered disrespectful.
FIRST SERGEANT - not Sarge or "Top Kick."
CADRE - the noncommissioned officers who train you.
COMPANY GRADE OFFICERS - officers of captain rank and below.
FIELD GRADE OFFICERS - officers of major's rank and above to include colonel.
These are terms applied to things we do. We:
KNOCK IT OFF - stop doing what you are doing.
TAKE A BREAK - usually a rest of 10 minutes or less.
POLICE UP - clean up the area to include picking up paper, cigarette butts, etc.
UNDER ARMS - means armed with a weapon.
GO ON SICK CALL - report to our leaders when we are sick or have a health problem.
QUICK TIME - marching at a rate of 120 steps per minute, each step 30 inches long.
DOUBLE TIME - running at a rate of 180 steps per minute, each step 36 inches long.
Terms used when referring to our equipment:
RIFLE - not gun.
ROUND - bullet together with its casing.