Military Acronym Definitions

As a new Navy wife, I was amazed at how many military acronyms there are! I felt like I joined a whole new culture with its own language. It took me awhile to learn them all, but here’s a list of the most common acronyms all put together in one place for you!

• AFI- Air Force Instruction
• BAH- Basic Allowance for Housing
• BAS- Basic Allowance for Sustenance
• BCG- Birth Control Glasses (Slang used for the military issued glasses)
• CMC- Command Master Chief (For Navy or Coast Guard)
• COB- Chief of the Boat
• DITY- Do IT Yourself
• DOD- Department of Defense
• DFAC- Dining Facility
• DFAS- Defense Finance and Accounting Service
• DEERS- Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System
• DONSA- Day of No Scheduled Activity (Army)
• ETA- Estimated Time of Arrival
• EOD- Explosive Ordinance Disposal
• ENDEX- End Exercise (Army)
• FEP- Fitness Enhancement Program
• FAK- First Aid Kit
• FOB- Forward Operating Base
• GOCO- Government Owned, Contractor Operated
• HHG- HouseHold Goods
• HBL- Holiday Block Leave (Army)
• IED- Improvised Explosive Device
• JAG- Judge Advocate General (Where the base’s legal team resides)
• LES- Leave and Earning Statement (Military Pay Stub)
• LPO- Leading Petty Officer (Navy)
• LT- Lieutenant
• MIA- Missing In Action
• MOB- Main Operating Base
• NAS- Naval Air Station
• NUB- Non-Useful Body (Nuclear Navy, usually a name for the new guys)
• MP- Military Police
• NSW- Naval Special Warfare
• OCONUS- Outside Continental US
• OCS- Officer Candidate School
• ODU- Operational Dress Uniform (Coast Guard)
• OP- Observation Post
• OPSEC- Operational Security
• PERSEC- Personal Security
• OTS- Officer Training School
• PCS- Permanent Change of Station
• PDS- Permanent Duty Station
• PFT- Physical Fitness Test
• PL- Platoon Leader (Army)
• POW- Prisoner of War
• PT- Physical Training
• PPM-Personally Procured Move
• PRD- Personal Readiness Division
• PSD-Personnel Support Activity Detachment (Navy)
• PMS- Preventative Maintenance Scheduled
• POV- Privately Owned Vehicle
• SEAL- Sea, Air, and Land (Navy)
• SGM Sergeant Major
• SOP- Standard Operating Procedures
• SECNAV- Secretary of the Navy
• SECAF- Secretary of the Air Force
• SECARMY- Secretary of the Army
• SECC- Survivable Enduring Command Center
• SERE- Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape
• SOCOM- Special Operations Command
• TAD- Temporary Additional Duty
• TDY- Temporary Duty
• TF- Task Force
• TAP- Transition Assistant Program
• UA- Unauthorized absence
• USAF- United States Air Force
• USN- United States Navy
• UXO- Unexploded Ordinance
• USMC- United States Marine Corps
• XO- Executive Officer

It’s a lot to take in at once, but don’t be too overwhelmed! You’ll know them all in no time!

One thought on “Military Acronym Definitions

  1. Elizabeth O

    June 14, 2017 at 7:05pm

    Good Lord! I had no idea there were so many and they are all quite meaningful. We live and learn every day!

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  2. Chemady

    June 12, 2017 at 12:31pm

    I found those acronyms amazing. That’s a whole lot to learn.

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  3. sarah

    June 12, 2017 at 1:59am

    That’s a lot of acronyms. Very helpful for a military wife. i

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  4. Ana

    June 11, 2017 at 11:14pm

    I always find it interesting to find new terms, particularly on topics like the military that I do not know too much about. These acronyms are great !

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  5. Laura

    June 11, 2017 at 9:29am

    There is no risk of me being in the us army anytime soon. What a lot of lingo!

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  6. David Elliott

    June 9, 2017 at 4:57pm

    My dad and my uncle were in the airforce. I will have to see how much my dad recognizes all of the acronyms here. Very cool list.

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  7. Agentszerozerosetter

    June 9, 2017 at 2:36pm

    Wow, didn’t know all these acronyms existed! It’s so interesting to learn about!

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  8. Cristina

    June 9, 2017 at 1:57pm

    This is so useful and interesting to read. Some of them are really funny :))

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  9. The Brainy Mama

    June 9, 2017 at 1:12pm

    This is soooo interesting. I didn’t know XO has a different equivalent other than hugs and kisses. LOL

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  10. Ashley

    June 9, 2017 at 2:37am

    I work in an industry that uses a ton of acronyms. I remember when I started it was like learning a new language. Thank you to your family for their service.

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  11. Tonya

    June 9, 2017 at 2:06am

    What a great resource for those attached to the military. xxx That you have this for people to save. I bet this would make a great printable download.

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    • Author


      June 9, 2017 at 10:34am

      I agree Tonya! I’ve been working on a printable download.

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  12. Denay

    June 9, 2017 at 1:57am

    Wow! That’s quite a collection of acronyms. I think this post will be very helpful for spouses, families and friends who are new to military life. 🙂

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  13. Ivianat

    June 9, 2017 at 1:27am

    I just learned a whole lots of thing about Military thanks to you! It’s very useful 🙂

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  14. Amber

    June 8, 2017 at 6:19pm

    This is so helpful! I was a military kid and now I’m a military spouse and sometimes I forget what these mean. There are just so many of them!

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  15. Corinne & Kirsty

    June 8, 2017 at 5:54pm

    I am learning a lot tonight! I had no idea! I may not remember everything but at least, I will know some! xx corinne

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  16. Deanna

    June 8, 2017 at 5:25pm

    What a great resource. I knew some of these but many of them were new to me. I will pass thing along.

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  17. Brooke

    June 8, 2017 at 3:42pm

    For those of us who aren’t personally involved with the military, this is a great post to introduce us to the lingo!

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  18. Akamatra

    June 8, 2017 at 3:11pm

    These are very helpful. I couldn’t help but notice DITY. How come it’s written that way and not DIY? Do you happen t know?

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    • Author


      June 8, 2017 at 3:15pm

      It is a bit strange how they spelled it, isn’t it? I have no idea why it’s that way, but that’s how the military decided to say “Do It Yourself” in reference to moving yourself when you get orders to a new location instead of them paying to have someone move your stuff. They also call it a PPM- Personally Procured Move.

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  19. Jessica

    June 2, 2017 at 7:25pm

    This is actually funny to me because my husband HATES acronyms, I knew quite a few on the list but my husband insists on calling everything by its actual name. Ha. That’s the one thing he hates about being in the marine corps is everyone shortens EVERYTHING. So confusing. Lol

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  20. Jessica Taylor

    May 29, 2017 at 1:48pm

    I’ve actually never heard of any of these. Such a great list!

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  21. Heather

    May 29, 2017 at 11:44am

    I know several people in the military, and they all use these acronyms! Honestly, most of the time I just smile and nod like I have a slight clue – this will be helpful!

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  22. Author Brandi Kennedy

    May 25, 2017 at 3:44pm

    I’ve heard a number of these before, as my ex was in the military twice (two different branches) and I have several friends in various branches of the military. But Birth Control Glasses was a new one for me – I laughed out loud!

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  23. Kaitlynn

    May 19, 2017 at 6:13pm

    My husband is in the military. I sure could have used this list when he first joined! There is just so much to learn and sometimes I am still learning!

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