Cracking the 'Kill' Code

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Get Some!": A phrase generally used by Marines as an exhortation in combat operations or a good workout, shouted, for example, while watching airstrikes or push-ups.

Oscar Mike/mikes: On the move/minutes, as in, "We are Oscar Mike in 10 mikes."

Contact: Combat engagement with the enemy, as in, "Bravo Platoon is in contact with a Republican Guard brigade south of Baghdad."

Sit-rep: Shorthand for situation report, meaning a briefing or update on any ongoing situation.

Grunts/Pogs (rhymes with rogues): The former refers to Marine infantrymen. The latter is an abbreviation used by those infantrymen for persons other than grunts, such as Marines involved in rear operations who rarely see combat.

Hardball: Blacktop, or paved highway, as opposed to the dirt roads or desert on which Marines sometimes traveled to Baghdad during the invasion. Some hardball roads are MSRs, or main supply routes.

NODs/NVGs: Night observation device systems or night vision goggles, the eyepieces used by Marines to see in the dark, casting the world in a greenish hue.

"Oorah!": The Marine battle cry, similar to the Army's "Hoorah," and sometimes shortened to simply "Errr!"

Hum rats: The yellow plastic-wrapped humanitarian rations that U.S. forces distributed to Iraqi civilians during the invasion.

Hajjis: A term for any Arab, used pejoratively by U.S. forces -- roughly akin to "Krauts" during World War II. Ironically, it is used by Arabs as a term of great respect for those who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca, a trip also called the hajj.

Mandress: U.S. forces' name for the Arab dishdasha, a long robe worn by men that resembles a Western woman's dress.

MOPP: Mission-oriented protective posture, the name for the suits, boots, gloves and masks worn by U.S. troops to withstand chemical or biological attacks. Different MOPP levels (1 to 4) correspond to different levels of risk, requiring varying arrangements of gear.

-- Jonathan Finer

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