Can You Guess These Easy Military Acronyms in 6 Minutes?

By: John Miller
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The United States Armed Forces stockpiles acronyms like bullets and bombs — without acronyms, soldiers and generals would be stuck spelling out ridiculous terms like Hometown Recruiting Assistance Program all day long instead of just using HTRAP instead. And when filling out a requisition form, they ca just write “HUMMER” instead of Highly Mobile, Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. In this quiz, do you think you really know the military’s most common acronyms?

Even civilians know some of the military’s classic acronyms. Most people have a pretty good idea that AWOL and IED are generally pretty negative terms, ones that soldiers strive to avoid. But how about common acronyms like “FA” and “DS”? If you didn’t already know, they stand for “field artillery” and “drill sergeant,” respectively.

Sure, you already know your DOB (date of birth), because you needed it when you became “EN” (enlisted). But in in this quiz, we’ll find out if you really know your DFAC (dining facility) from your DEROS (date of estimated return from overseas). Take this tough military acronym quiz now!

What does AF stand for?

It’s one of the simplest acronyms in the U.S. military. "AF" stands for Air Force.

What does POW stand for?

Every battle features casualties, and that number includes soldiers captured by the enemy. They’ve now become POWs, or prisoners of war.

What does CO stand for?

He is your god, your master and your guiding light. On the battlefield, your CO, or commanding officer, is who calls the shots that mean the difference between life and death.

What does CAV stand for?

"CAV" is for cavalry. In the modern Army, the cavalry is armored vehicles like tanks.

What does BCT stand for?

BCT is a rite of passage for all soldiers. It’s basic combat training, and it’s where you learn to stay alive when people are trying their best to put you six feet under.

What does MIA stand for?

After battles, there are always MIAs. They are the soldiers who’ve gone missing in action ... and sometimes, they are never accounted for.

What does AWOL stand for?

If you just up and leave your unit without permission, you’re AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave). And when your CO finds you, you are in big, big trouble.

What does FOB stand for?

For some soldiers the FOB is a terrifying ordeal. It’s the Forward Operating Base, the place where many troops go just before they enter combat.

What does AB stand for?

Aircraft might be the most important tools of modern warfare. And as such, your ABs, or air bases, are always vital.

What does SOP stand for?

Standard operation procedures (SOP) are the incredibly boring step-by-step tasks required by all service members. But without SOP, the military would be nothing but chaos.

What does MOS stand for?

After basic training, your superiors will identify your special talents, and you’ll be trained in an MOS, or Military Occupational Speciality. Yours is mopping.

What does POV stand for?

It’s a privilege that many soldiers would kill to have — a POV, or privately owned vehicle. No, that tank does not count as a POV.

What does PX stand for?

Every base has a PX, or Post Exchange. It’s a store where soldiers can buy the things they need and maybe get a haircut, too.

What does MP stand for?

Because once in a while, soldiers go crazy. MPs are military police officers, and they maintain some semblance of order on base.

What does A/C stand for?

No, it has nothing to do with air conditioning. In the service, "A/C" is aircraft.

What does BRM stand for?

In BCT you’ll get your BRM — Basic Rifle Marksmanship. The lessons you learn in BRM will help your fireteam accomplish combat zone objectives.

What does ASVAB stand for?

The ASVAB is the famous Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery. It’s the test that will determine your path in the military, and whether you’ll be cannon fodder or an engineer.

What does AD stand for?

If you’re on AD, you’re on active duty. Active duty troops are those who are ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

What does BDE stand for?

Brigades are one of the most common units for the Army. And "brigade" is often shortened to BDE.

What does HALO stand for?

It’s something that expert paratroops must master — the HALO jump. Soldiers leap from planes at high altitude, but they don’t open their ‘chutes until they are very close to the ground.

What does HQ stand for?

If your general tells you to make it to HQ on the double, you’d best be racing back to headquarters. It’s where all the biggest decisions are made during war.

What does COC stand for?

Without it, the military wouldn’t have any real order. It’s the COC, or the chain of command, and it’s why you’re a follower instead of a general.

What does DOD stand for?

In the armed services, the DOD is GOD. The Department of Defense is responsible for operating all branches of the military.

What does SITREP stand for?

A SITREP is a situational report. It’s a critical bit of paperwork that helps commanding officers make vital decisions.

What does HE stand for?

Why settle for normal bombs if you can choose the HE variety? Because everyone know the "high explosive" versions are way more fun.

What does FTX stand for?

At FTX (field training exercises), troops take their classroom skills to the field. If they haven’t learned their lessons, their COs will know in a hurry.

What does EOD stand for?

It takes training and courage to be part of an EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) team. These men and women have nerves of steel.

What does UXO stand for?

It’s one of the legacies of many battles ... the UXO (unexploded ordnance) that litters the combat zone. Engineers are still finding and dismantling UXO from both World Wars.

What does APFT stand for?

Soldiers must pass the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) if they want to wield a rifle in combat. And if they don’t, well, have another doughnut!

What does KIA stand for?

It’s the ultimate sacrifice that a service member can make. KIA stands for Killed In Action.

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