How Good Is Your Knowledge of Military Jargon?


There is no doubt the men and women who risk their lives to protect their country are a special breed. But, these brave people who serve in the Army, Air Force, and Navy like to keep the rest of us guessing when it comes to communicating. It seems they speak a different language to mere mortals. From the earliest days of warfare, military personnel have adopted a whole new vocabulary to communicate between themselves and describe weapons, tactics, strategies, and situations. From measuring in klicks and eating MREs to racking out and joining the Martin-Baker Fan Club, strange phrases, acronyms, and slang terms rule in the armed forces. Many of the terms used by the military are actually harder to say than the true meaning. Instead of saying “car”, a soldier would say POV, or describe something as November Golf rather than just “No Go”. And, the armed services love an acronym, such as IEDs, SNAFU, and DONSA.So, get ready to take the quiz and find out if you could make it on your own in the military, or whether you’d need a phrase book or a translator to understand just what the hell is going on!

History Lesson

Early military of Mesopotamia

In the vast expanse of ancient history, Mesopotamia stands tall. A land where rivers etched their tales and city-states vied for dominance. Here, at the cradle of civilization, military strategies evolved, shaping warfare's very essence.

The early Sumerians? They had their city-state militias. These weren't mere territorial disputes. They were ambition, strategy, and power, all intertwined. The Stele of the Vultures? More than a relic. It was politics, warfare, and religion, all captured in stone.

Then came the Akkadians, led by the visionary Sargon the Great. They dreamed big: an empire. Forming a standing army wasn't just about flexing military muscle. It was a bold statement. A proclamation. With advanced weaponry and tactics, they didn't just play the game; they changed it.

But power's path? Never smooth. Transitioning from militias to standing armies was awe-inspiring, yet fraught with challenges. Logistical issues, potential coups, and more. But the Akkadians saw beyond. They envisioned a united Mesopotamia. And following their lead, the Assyrians and Babylonians too dreamt, conquered, and built.

The Assyrians? Their military campaigns were masterpieces. Strategy, diplomacy, raw power. Their iconic reliefs weren't just art. They were narratives of an empire's heartbeat.

In essence, Mesopotamia's military history isn't just about battles. It's innovation. It's the relentless human spirit. From Uruk's walls to Nineveh's grandeur, the tales of ancient Mesopotamian warfare resonate. They remind us of a time when empires' fates were etched in history's annals, with every sentence, every word, every rhythm.

Did you know?

Did You Know, DYK, or Delta Yankee Kilo!

It’s vitally important that there is no confusion or misunderstanding when communicating in the military – not an easy task when in difficult and noisy environments. That is why the U.S. armed forces use the phonetic alphabet to ensure messages are heard loud and clear over the radio or telephone.

A specific word is given to each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet to help distinguish between similar-sounding letters. For example, instead of saying M and N, two letters easily confused, the phonetic alphabet uses Mike and November. B becomes Bravo to distinguish it from P, Papa. And, C and E are never misheard when you use Charlie and Echo.

The military alphabet was created in the 1920s to allow pilots to communicate with ground control when radios often had poor signals or were plagued by interference. Since then, it has become the standard for spelling out words and letters across the military. The phonetic alphabet is also the communicating norm for member countries of NATO.

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