A Grunt’s Glossary

In amongst my dad’s things was a copy of The Air Cavalry Division, Volume 1, Number 2, July 1968, and in it there was an article entitled: A Grunt’s Glossary, a slang dictionary of the most commonly used words and phrases while in-country.

AK: An AK-47, the Russian designed automatic rifle used by enemy troops. Said phonetically (“Alpha Kilo”) the same letters indicate An Khe, the Cavalry’s base camp for two years.

Backhaul: To carry by helicopter from a company’s position to the battalions trains area. Thus water is brought to the company in five-gallon metal cans; the cans are then backhauled. Also, used as a noun, it is anything a company wants to send back to the trains (“Send all the backhaul up to the LZ”).

Bird: Helicopter. A helicopter is also a chopper, never a copter, whirlybird, eggbeater.

Blue: A body of water, because that is its color on a map. As in, “have you crossed that blue yet?” Also, the rifle platoons of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry.

Charlie Alpha: Phonetic alphabet for combat assault, that is, an assault by helicopter. Charlie alpha is also a verb, as in, “Tomorrow we’ll charlie alpha six klicks west of here.”

CP: Command post. In a company, the cluster of radiomen and Continue reading

The Plight of the Vietnam Veteran

This letter to the editor, written in 1986 by my dad’s friend and fellow Bravo Company “Sky Trooper,” sadly still resonates today. Below are excerpts of that letter.

“Vietnam veterans and nation still recovering”

Last week this letter came to me in the mail. And, though it was addressed to me, clearly it was written to you, too – to all of us. So I wanted you to see it:

            “I have been following [this] column on the situation of the Vietnam veteran. It is encouraging to know that there are a few who still consider his plight. Continue reading

U.S. Army C-rations

My dad brought back his C-rations and each packet still contains its original contents. Matches Package reads: These matches are designed especially for damp climates. But, they will not light when wet, or after long exposure (several weeks) to very damp air. D.D. Bean & Sons, Jaffrey, NH

C-ration matches

C-ration matches

The C-ration packet below has the following words imprinted on it: Accessory Packet: Cigarettes; Matches; Chewing Gum; Continue reading