Army Lingo (or: Stuff I’d forgotten about the Army)

I loved my time in the Army, but I’ve forgotten a lot about it;  Every now and again, pieces rise up into my brain, and I want to record them.  Since you’re an unfortunate reader of my blog, you also get to be a part of this process.

First up, some lingo we used in Emails that (upon reflection) makes no sense at all.


This stands for “All Concerned”, and was used instead of ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’, or ‘Subordinates’ to start an email.  Since being personable is frowned upon in the military, and “All Concerned” is just far too much to write (and seems a bit dry), why not replace it with an acronym?

At the end of the email, you’d generally also see /s/, in context:


Friday will be mandatory fun day.

J.A. Obvious, CPT, USA

The /s/ block meant “Signed”.  Since email’s generally aren’t ‘signed’, this was to signify that you should pretend that there’s a signature there.  Never mind that it came from Capt. Obvious’s email address (or that of his office).

In the military (I say Military since this is a DoD thing, but I’m focusing on the Army, since that’s where I spent my time), everything you do requires an order.  If you’re going to spend more than a few minutes outside of your Duty station, you need an order (or a Pass) sending you there.  In some cases, you’re ‘ordered’ to go on Temporary Duty at a specific location (we’d call this “Business Travel” in the civilian world”); and yes, you need “orders” to go on TDY.  Besides it being the paper trail of where you’ve spent your time, it’s also used for funding.  Everything in the Army you do has a funding code. Everything.

4-Day Pass:

Also known as the ’96 hour’ pass.  It’s generally ‘time off’ that has to be granted by the Commander of your unit.  It also generally has a radius attached to it (150 miles is what I remember; some units it’s less, other units it may be more).  If you’re caught outside this radius or don’t get back to your duty station if you’re “recalled”, then you can be punished.  It’s also worth noting that it’s never actually a 96 hour pass.  If you have a ‘good’ unit, then you have from Reville Thursday Evening until First Formation on Tuesday Morning.  If you have an asshole for a Commander (or First Sergeant), then it’s from 0600 Friday morning until recall formation Monday evening at 1600 hours (4pm, Americans).

NJP / Article 15 / Captain’s Mast

Non-Judicial Punishment.  Article 15 is the ‘article’ in the Uniform Code of Military Justice that governs NJP, and the “Captain’s Mast” is the Navy equivalent (I think Marines had “Office Hours”, but they might also have used the term “Captain’s Mast”. I can never remember). In the military, you can either be punished through some sort of Court martial (there are several levels depending on the severity of the offense); but since that’s a rather permanent stain on your record (if you’re still in after the Court Martial), your Commander has the option to ‘bring administrative action’ under Article 15.  Effectively you have no counsel, no way of defending yourself, and you’re generally punished either through restrictions, extra duty, or docked pay (You can confer with counsel; but not be represented by counsel; and counsel will almost always tell you to take the Article 15, since your alternatives suck that much more).


We used to make fun of the acronyms we had to learn and use; and we generally referred to them as “TLAs”, “Three letter Acronyms”, which itself is an acronym; so there you go.

What acronyms/lingo do you remember from your time in the military? Or maybe some other organization?

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