Glossary of Military Terms & Slang from the Vietnam War A-C
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a religious and political sect formed in the 1920s by a group of South Vietnamese intellectuals, combining the three major religions of Vietnam -- Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity -- with the worship of Vietnamese and Western heroes. With a strength of more that 1,500,000 followers, groups of Cao Dai still waged a stubborn resistance war against the Communists (especially in Tay Ninh Province) even after the U.S. troop withdrawal.
civil action program. U.S. military personnel working with Vietnamese civilians.
a carbine rifle
a short-barreled, lightweight automatic or semiautomatic rifle
small transport plane for moving men and material
Cavalry; the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
hello or goodby, depending upon the context
military phonetic for the letter 'C"
Viet Cong; the enemy
Viet Cong; the enemy
GI who is frugal with his money while in a bar
slang term for youth and inexperience; a virgin
Chinese mine; can be made of plastic
the "open arms" program, promising clemency and financial aid to Viet Cong and NVA soldiers and cadres who stopped fighting and returned to South Vietnamese government authority.
CH-47 cargo helicopter
exclamation of surprise
slang for food
term used by black marines to identify white individuals; often derogatory
the Viet Cong; the enemy
combat infantry badge. And Army award for being under enemy fire in a combat zone, worn on both fatigues and dress uniforms.
South Vietnamese Civilian Irregular Defense Groups
commander in chief of all American forces in the Pacific region
American financed, irregular South Vietnamese military units which were led by members of Special Forces A-teams. Members of these units were Vietnamese nationals, but were usually members of ethnic minorities in the country.
a small hand-held firing device for a claymore mine
an antipersonnel mine carried by the infantry which, when detonated, propelled small steel cubes in a 60-degree fan-shaped pattern to a maximum distance of 100 meters
permission from both military and political authorities to engage the enemy in a particular area
any attempted operations which went bad; disorganized
cartridge belt worn by Marines
Congressional Medal of Honor. The highest U.S. military decoration awarded for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.
unmarried woman; used as a title, like "Miss"
an AH-1G attack helicopter. Also known as a gunship, armed with rockets and machine guns.
the French name for its southern Vietnam colony, encompassing the III Corps and Mekong Delta rice-producing lowlands, which earlier was part of Cambodia.
female Viet Cong members
military rules for U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by the enemy
shorthand for "communications"
bunker containing vital communications equipment. Usually included in the last redoubt of established defensive positions.
a military unit usually consisting of a headquarters and two or more platoons
a fortified military installation
coiled barbed wire used as an obstacle
corrugated metal packing crate, approximately six feet in length
firing on or being fired upon by the enemy
continental United States
civil operations and revolutionary development support. Created by civilian administration, MACV, and the CIA to coordinate American pacification efforts.
central office of South Vietnam. Communist headquarters for military and political action in South Vietnam.
the staff and personnel of an American embassy assigned to a particular country
advisor. American assigned to Vietnamese military units or to political division within the country to help direct and train Vietnamese military and civilian officials.
the area where the coxwain (driver) stands when he steers a boat or ship
charge of quarters. An officer officially in charge of a unit headquarters at night.
combat rations. Canned meals for use in the field. Each usually consisted of a can of some basic course, a can of fruit, a packet of some type of dessert, a packet of powdered coca, a small pack of cigarettes, and two pieces of chewing gum.
a riot-control gas which burns the eyes and mucus membranes
unofficial trading, begging, bartering, or stealing from other branches of the service