Paint me

To paint something is to shine one's gunsight laser designator on a target in preparation for shooting it.

PAS-13 Thermal

A night vision device, about the size of an old video camera that can see heat signatures. NOTE: A single device is usually referred to in the plural, i.e. "Pass me the thermals" refers to one device.

Pec-fours, Pec-thirteens

Night and infrared vision scopes.

POG (Person Other than Grunt)

A pejorative term for anyone who is in the rear echelon and therefore not a recon or infantry unit; this is one of the most insulting terms in the Marine Corps, almost the equivalent of the N-word. NOTE: POG is pronounced with a long "o."


To clean up or correct, as in "Police your tent," or clean it up.


Psychological-Operations units, which in Iraq relied on leaflets, radio and loudspeaker broadcasts to encourage enemy forces to surrender.

Pyro and Smoke protocol

Codes involving use of smoke grenades and flares.

R.C.T. (Regimental Combat Team)

A super-regiment of about 7,000 Marines; the First Division consisted of three RCTs, RCT 1, RCT 5 and RCT 7 plus First Recon, which operated on its own.

R.C.T. One (Regimental Combat Team One)

A motorized, armored infantry regiment of about 7,000 Marines. 

R.O.E. (The Rules of Engagement)

The all important, ever-changing and always ambiguous rules of when a Marine may fire his weapon.

R.T.O (Radio Transceiver Operator)

Radioman, the most important guy on the team and usually the calmest and smartest next to the Team Leader.


Nautical for sleeping area.

Ranger Graves

Sleeping holes dug by marines to protect from shrapnel and gunshots.


Radio call-sign for First Recon's Charlie company.

Recon Mission

A reconnaissance mission performed specifically by Recon Marines who are the Marine Corps special forces; there are only a few hundred Recon Marines in the entire Corps. This unit is comprised of such. 

Red-Con One

A loaded weapon with a round in its chamber, but with the safety on.


Crude fortifications made from earth or concrete or sandbags.

Ripped Fuel

Brand name of a popular over-the-counter stimulant, banned by the military but widely used.

RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade)

Anti-tank rocket first developed by the Germans as the "panzerfaust," then adopted by Soviets and as common to Iraqi forces and insurgents as Skittles candies are to Marines; not very accurate but devastating when fired in mass by five- or ten-man RPG teams; RPGs were famously used to bring down US Army Blackhawk helicopters in Somalia.

S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure)

S.O.P. is sometimes informally used as a synonym for common sense.

Saffwon Hill

A low hill on the Iraq side of the border with Kuwait believed to be the locale of a dug-in Iraqi division.

Sapi plates

12-inch square ceramic plates worn in front and back of one's flak vest, rated to stop the enemy's preferred 7.62 round. 


To kill; origin believed to be from a popular video game.


Either, "That sucks," or, "That's really cool," from Cpl. Stafford's personal hip-hop lexicon.

Senior NCOs

Anyone from staff-sergeant to Sergeant Major; Corporals and Sergeants are also NCOs but they are never referred to junior NCOs, simply as NCOs. 

Sergeant Major

The highest possible rank a non-commissioned officer can earn in the Marine Corps; invariably a ball-buster who speaks in a semi-illiterate southern sounding accent no matter where he is from; this battalion has just one Sergeant Major. 


 Hellacious wind and dust storms endemic to Iraq.


Situation report; often used as a more confusing way to say "situation."


Chewy fruit-flavored children's candy which is a staple of diet in US military.


Team machine gunner, armed with a SAW.


A specific Marine term for abducting an enemy combatant in order to gather intelligence.

Soft Cover

Same as a boonie cap. NOTE: the word "hat" does not exist in the Marine Corps; anything you place on your head is a cover.


A small reaction force held in reserve while another unit attacks; an "eagle" is a large reaction force. 

Spread load his excitement

To calm down; from the tradition of foot patrols spreading a heavy load equally among all troops.


Soviet-era tank ubiquitous in Iraq; older and much less feared than the newer, but less-common T-72 Soviet tanks also in Iraq.

TAD-two, TAD-three

Tactical Air Direct radio bands for communicating directly with pilots in attack aircraft.

Task Force Tarawa

A four-thousand strong Marine unit outside of the First Division Command Structure. This American unit was initially put under the command of the British at Basra, then moved north to Nasariyah. 

Team Leader

The sergeant in command of each combat team. Fick's platoon is divided into three teams, but spread across four Humvees (not counting Fick's command vehicle, the fifth Humvee). Since Fick's platoon is a special forces unit trained in coastal raids, they have no experience with Humvees; technically each team has a specialty, with team one being the dive (or SCUBA) team, team two being the boat team and team three the para-jump team. But here, ironically, they are all in a desert.

The Grooming Standard

Not to be confused with Marine Corps standard grooming regulations, the Grooming Standard is Battalion Commander Ferrando's much more exacting dress and grooming code for those who serve under him.

The L.T.

Nickname for a Lieutenant. NOTE: A specific lieutenant or other commanding officer is often also referred to as "The Sir." 

The Three

The battalion's intelligence unit.


T-rations, pre-manufactured military food heated and served in mess halls of forward units. 


Anti-Aircraft Artillery; towed or self-propelled guns designed to shoot down aircraft but often used by Iraqis against American forces on the ground.

Two o'clock

Direction of enemy forces; orientation of the lead vehicle puts 12 o'clock at the center of the hood and six o'clock at the rear.


An M-203 grenade launcher, which is a single shot self-propelled weapon mounted beneath the barrel of a standard Marine rifle. The M-203 fires the same 40mm round as the M-19.

Watch Generation Kill

  1. NOW & GOAvailable