How Well Do You Know Unofficial Military Acronyms?

By: John Miller

How Well Do You Know Unofficial Military Acronyms?
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

The United States Armed Forces are the second-largest employer in America. As such, it might as well be its own country … and it definitely has its own language. You’ll find more acronyms in the military than you will at some computer companies. A lot of those acronyms fall outside official recognition, but almost everyone in uniform knows what they mean. In this quiz, we’ll present slang acronyms of the soldier's life, do you think you know what they mean?

There are thousands and thousands of official military acronyms. A “COP” is a Combat Outpost, and “EOD” is Explosive Ordnance Disposal. But there are a whole lot of slang acronyms, too. In the Air Force, there’s “GIB”, referring to the Guy In the Back – he’s the aviator who rides in the backseat of the plane. Or how about “HIC”? That’s the officer with his or her head in the clouds, totally unable to make sound decisions.

We all know what the Navy is. But “NAVY,” in some quarters, means “Never Again Volunteer Yourself,” as in, what were you thinking when you enlisted? And in every branch of the service, one must deal with “LHOs” or Large Heavy Objects.

Take cover in this military acronym quiz now! Are you a Marine or a USMC (“Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children”)?

Remember this one? What does "BGB" stand for?
Boring Grenade Battle
Big Gray Boat
A BGB is a "Big Gray Boat." It's what many soldiers and sailors use when they see the long, broad sides of huge Navy ships.
Barge Gun Brigade

Advertisement

What does "SNOB" translate to?
Shortest Nuke Onboard
On a nuclear submarine, it's the sailor who has the least amount of time left in the service. He's the SNOB, the Shortest Nuke Onboard.
Sighted Nuclear Operations Brigade
Sighted Nuclear Operations Brigade

Advertisement

Do you know what "POL" stands for?
Police
Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants
Trying to perform vehicle maintenance? You definitely need POL, or Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants.
Punching Out Lights

Advertisement

What does "LN" mean to military folk?
Local National
An "LN" is a local national. LNs often work on U.S. military bases scattered around the world.
Laser Nuke
Lazy Navy

Advertisement

Which option describes what "OBE" stands for?
Overrated Beans
Overcome By Events
If circumstances are dictating the situation instead of the soldiers who should be in control, those troops are OBE. They've been Overcome By Events.
Operated By Experts

Advertisement

Remember what "ROAD" stands for?
Retired On Active Duty
If you're on your last months of active duty but getting lazier by the day, you're ROAD. You're Retired On Active Duty.
Red On Airborne Ducks
Rangers On Attack Detachment

Advertisement

What does "POV" stand for?
Privately Owned Vehicle
No, you can't drive that tank off base. But you can take your POV, or your Privately Owned Vehicle.
Poor Overhead Value
Preening Officer Visitation

Advertisement

Remember this one? What does "LRA" stand for?
Launching Rockets At
Long-Range Attack
Lowest-Ranking Airman
Are you the LRA, or Lowest-Ranking Airman in your unit? Guess what? You get stuck doing all of the task that no one else wants.

Advertisement

What does "HANO" translate to?
Hairy Airmen Need Operations
High Altitude No Opening
It's a derivative of HALO, or High-Altitude, Low-Opening, when paratroopers jump from a high plane and open their 'chutes at low altitude. A HANO, then, is when there's No Opening … meaning a sky soldier's parachute didn't work and he is now probably dead.
Heckling All Noctural Opponents

Advertisement

Do you actually know what "LT" stands for?
Low Trajectory
Lieutenant
You've heard this one in 1,000 war movies. "LT" is short for Lieutenant.
Long Tomahawk (missile)

Advertisement

Remember what "NUB" stands for?
Nuclear Uranium Bomb
Non-Useful Body
If you're a NUB, you're dead weight. You're a Non-Useful Body, and for whatever reason, you don't contribute to the team effort.
Norwegian Undertaker Brigade

Advertisement

Do you know what "GOBI" stands for?
Guns Overboard, Battalion In Place
a large desert
General Officer Bright Idea
You know how your supervisor at the office gets a "great" idea that winds up making more work for everyone? In the service, that's a GOBI, a General Officer Bright Idea.

Advertisement

Which option describes what "D4D" stands for?
Destination 4 Delta
Desk, 4 Drawers
It's an old Air Force joke, because most people in this branch don't get to zoom around in planes. Instead, they fly D4Ds … desks with four drawers.
Defense For Donald

Advertisement

Remember what "GI" stands for?
Gun Integrator
Government Issue
The term "GI" has been around for decades and refers to people in the service. Some say it stands for "Government Issue," essentially meaning that soldiers were just replaceable cogs in the machine of war.
Gory Implements

Advertisement

What does "CHT" mean to military folk?
sewage
In the Navy, CHT stands for "Collection, Holding, and Transfer" systems, which sometimes break, spilling sewage all over the floors. Thus, CHT is often shorthand for the sewage itself.
delicious foods
small children

Advertisement

Do you actually know what "RTU" stands for?
Roaring Through Uganda
Regimental Team Unfit
Returned To Unit
You just couldn't stop messing around during that training exercise, could you? So you got RTU, Returned To Unit, or sent back to base.

Advertisement

What does "DJ" translate to?
Death Jet
Some folks use DJ when referring to the F-22 Raptor. The DJ is an ultra-deadly, ultra-futuristic, and ultra-expensive project meant to offer air superiority all over the planet.
Dork Jumper
Dim Jane

Advertisement

What does "HUA" stand for?
Heard, Understood, Acknowledged
Did you really get that order, soldier? "HUA" means you "Heard, Understood, and Acknowledged" a directive.
Head Under the Asphalt
Hoard Up

Advertisement

Which option describes what "PFCIC" stands for?
Plastic Flotation Contraption In China
Poor Flight Control In Cockpit
Private First Class in Charge
PFCIC is Private First Class in Charge … a derisive term. It refers to privates who tried to exert more power than they really should.

Advertisement

Remember this one? What does "DICK" stand for?
Dragging Idiots aCross Kuwait
Dedicated Infantry Combat Killer
During the Gulf War era, DICK took on ominous tones. It referred to some soldiers as DICK, as they were Dedicated Infantry Combat Killers.
Dumb Imbecile Country Klan

Advertisement

Do you know what "JEEP" stands for?
Joint Eagle Exercise Program
Junior Enlisted Expendable Personnel
You don't want to be a JEEP on a battlefield. It means you're Junior Enlisted Expendable Personnel.
Jiggling Explosives Exploding Parameters

Advertisement

What does "CHU" stand for?
Cold-weather Heating Unit
Containerized Housing Unit
It's home sweet home to many troops. A CHU is a containerized housing unit, often not much more than a big cargo box outfitted with a few living conveniences.
Choppers Hurting Ugandans

Advertisement

Do you actually know what "EGA" stands for?
Egads, Go Airborne!
Enhanced Graphics Adapter
Eagle, Globe, and Anchor
You'll find this one in the Marines, thanks to the distinctive insignia you find on their uniforms. It's Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

Advertisement

Remember what "BUFF" stands for?
Big Ugly Fat Fellow
BUFF is "Big Ugly Fat Fellow," which refers to the huge B-52 Stratofortress. There's also a less family-friendly version of this one, and we'll not publish it here.
Beat Up Fascist Fighters
Blogging Undermines Free Folks

Advertisement

Which option describes what "FTA" stands for?
Failure To Adapt
In the Marines, it means you couldn't hack the situation. You experienced FTA, or Failure To Adapt.
Forgot The Airplane
Forks, Tongs, Apron

Advertisement

What does "DA Form 1" mean to military folk?
Dork Alert
enlistment papers
toilet paper
It's a standing (or sitting) joke in the service. If someone says they need "DA Form 1" one, they really want some toilet paper.

Advertisement

What does "DROS" translate to?
Date Returned From Overseas
It's pronounced "dee-ross," and it's usually a good thing. DROS stands for Date Returned From Overseas.
Dirty Red Fascist Overlords
Drew Roger's Face is Offensive

Advertisement

Remember this one? What does "DNKH" stand for?
Deep Navy Killer Hummer
Damn Near Killed Himself
In the service, from guns to tanks, there are a lot of ways to hurt yourself. "DNKH" is short for "Damn Near Killed Himself."
Deer Near Kuwaiti Headquarters

Advertisement

What does "BMO" stand for?
Black Moving Object
During the 1991 Gulf War, some non-Muslims identified battlefield objects in shorthand. "BMO" was Black Moving Object, and referred to women who wore traditional black robes called burkhas.
Battalion Movement Officer
Big Monstrous Orifice

Advertisement

Do you know what "PNN" stands for?
Punch Nazis Now
Parachuting into Nocturnal Neverland
Private News Network
It's not CNN, it's PNN. And that's the Private News Network, the gossipy grapevine that soldiers use to spread (mis)information.

Advertisement

You Got:
/30

Featured