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Centaur Glossary of Vietnam Terms

These definitions are how "Centaurs" viewed them and may not be the same outside of our brotherhood.
Please submit other terms that may need an explanation or answer. Updated February 2023 bap

11B - Eleven Bravo is the MOS of a US Army Infantryman. Nickname "Grunt"
12th CAG - 12th Combat Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, commanded three Battalions and provided helicopter and fixed wing aviation support to American, Vietnamese and Free World Military Assistance Forces (FWMAF) in the III Corps Tactical Zone.
100 Mile An Hour Tape - Green, strong, waterproof self-adhesive tape initially designed to keep water out of ammunition cases; but it worked great to fix bullet holes in aircraft, and most anything else.
105 Howitzer - a towable or airliftable, short cannon used to fire shells at medium velocity and with relatively high trajectories. Very effective firing close range Beehive round. Also see "Howitzer"
160th SOAR(A): - Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), also known as Night Stalkers, is a special operations force of the United States Army that provides helicopter aviation support for general purpose forces and special operations forces (not of the Vietnam Era). Established 16 Oct 1981
201 file - Army personal file
2.75 FFAR - Folding Fin Aerial Rocket -is a helicopter tube launched rocket measuring 2.75 inches in diameter that has a warhead and folding fins that deploy at its rear to provide spin stability after launch. Early rockets had a 10 pound high explosive (HE) warhead. In 1967 the Centaurs started receiving 17 pound HE warheads. We also had White Phosphorus ("Willy Pete") and Flechettes ("Nails").
38 - is the Smith & Wesson Model 12 or 38 Special revolver that was carried by many of our pilots. It was lightweight (19 oz unloaded), accurate and lethal.
45 The M1911, also known as the "45", is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986. Designed by John Browning
50 cal - US Military .50 calibre heavy machine gun. Designated M2 or BMG for Browning Machine Gun. Designed by John Browning (1933). Used by all NATO countries. Normally Jeep mounted.
51 cal - a heavy machine gun used by the enemy as an anti aircraft weapon
540 Rotor System - Vastly improved rotor system for the UH-1C model Huey.(Conversion from B to C model)
A-1E Skyraider (Sandy) - a fixed wing prop driven close air support airplane. The older AD-5 Skyraider was modified for the Vietnam war and redesigned the A-1E. "Sandy" was derived from their USAF call sign. Four 20mm cannons and various bombs, mines, grenades, flares and gun pods. An amazing aircraft.
AAA - Antiaircraft Artillery
AAR - After Action Report
AC - Aircraft Commander is the pilot that has total responsibility and authority for his aircraft.
ACAV - Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle
ADF – Automatic Direction Finder an older technology direction finding system capable of homing in and navigating by any most any FM signal. It was most commonly used for entertainment since it could be tuned to Armed Forces Radio (AFVN) stations. See Avionics Equipment for details.
Aerorifle Platoon - a ground Infantry platoon assigned to the Air Cavalry Troop called the "Blues". FM 17-37, Air Cavalry Squadron Manual covers the initial structure (TO&E) of the platoon.
AFB - Air Force Base
AFVN - Armed Forces Vietnam Network of radio and TV stations broadcasting news and entertainment.
Agent Orange - A herbicide dropped on the forests and bush in Vietnam to defoliate (strip the leaves from plants and trees) an area. Many Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange during the war have shown an increased risk of cancer. (see Agent Orange Discussion)
AGL - Above Ground Level (Aircraft Altitude)
Air Cav - Air Cavalry; helicopter borne infantry; gunship assault team
Airdale - Airdale, airedale - Naval aviator, aka 'BROWNSHOE'. Can also refer to any member of the aviation community, officer or enlisted. From envy, often modified by non-aviation types with the adjective "fucking".
AIT - Advanced Individual Training for a specific MOS after Basic Training.
AK-47 - Semi-automatic and automatic assault rifle developed by the Soviet Union and used by the NVA and VC
AK fire - The enemy is shooting at you with AK-47 weapons
Anti Torque - The rotation of the helicopter rotor blades creates a twisting force, torque, which wants to turn the aircraft in the opposite direction. To oppose this, an anti-torque device (tail rotor blades) is used; controlled by foot pedals at the pilot and copilot station.
Anti Torque Failure - means you have lost tail rotor control (see Anti Torque)
AO - Area of Operations
AO Earp- An area SouthSouthEast of Cu Chi near the Hoc Mon Bridge, designated specifically for test firing of aircraft weapons. Approximate map coordinates XT6806
ao-dai - traditional dress of Vietnamese women. A brightly colored silk top worn over loose fitting silk trouser. Pronounced 'ao yai'
APC - armored personnel carrier - M113 a tracked vehicle
AP - The Associated Press is an American non-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. Produced in English, Spanish and Arabic.
AP (Sqdn) - Ambush Patrol
API - Armor Piercing Incendary round.
APU - Auxiliary Power Unit or APU allows an aircraft to operate autonomously without reliance on ground support equipment such as a ground power unit.
ARA - Aerial Rocket Artillery is a type of armed helicopter unit that was part of the artillery component of the Army's two airmobile divisions during the Vietnam War. Controlled by division artillery and not the aviation group.
ARC-51 - Aircraft UHF radio transceiver, tube type, heavy
ARC-54 - Aircraft FM radio transceiver, tube type, heavy
ARC-102 - Aircraft HF Side Band radio. AM, USB, LSB, and CW on 28,000 channels. In Battalion level C&C aircraft. Antenna zig zaged down the UH-1 tail boom. Centaurs did not have one.
ARC-115 - Aircraft VHF AM radio 116-150 mhz range; solid state.
Arc Light - A term for the close air support operations provided by Strategic Air Command B-52 Stratofortresses based in Guam during the Vietnam War. The name comes from the codename for the mission, Operation Arc Light. Arc Lights were flown from June 1965 to August 1973. Their strike pattern would saturate an area of 1,100 by 2,200 yards, and flatten the jungle. The B-52 could carry a full load of 51 750 lb bombs or 500 lb bombs, with 27 carried internally and 24 externally.
Arm Pit - Rearming area at Cu Chi Base Camp
ARP - Centaur Aerorifle Platoon
ARVN - Army Republic of Vietnam
Ash and Trash Missons - any type of non-combat aviation mission, like delivering mail and parts to the ground Cav units or doing road damage assessment along route 1 from Saigon to Tay Ninh. Also called “milk runs”.
ASP - Ammunition Supply Point
Aussie - Australian Soldier. Aussie Infantry soldier also called “Digger”
ATC - Air Traffic Controller (Control Tower Operator)
Autorotation - the condition of flight occurring when lift is derived solely from the action of air upon the unpowered rotor of a moving helicopter. This is a one shot chance to land safely when an engine quits.
AWOL - absent without leave
Avionics – Aircraft Electronics. Includes any component with tubes or transistors.
Azimuth - a bearing from north
B-40 - a variant of the RPG-2, the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher designed in the Soviet Union
B-52 - The Boeing B52D Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. Max load of 500 lb. bombs could be 24 on external wing mounts (12 per side) and 84 in the bomb bay. 8 man crew. Flew at 30,000 feet. A B52 strike was called an "Arc Light".
B-53 - "B-53" was the cover name for the training program which was derived from Detachment B-53, 5th Special Forces Group.
Baby Son - a reference to village children (male and female)
Baby Scout - Initially the OH-23G Raven Scout Helicopter. It was replaced by the LOH Loach (OH-6A) Scout Helicopter. During the early tours the UH-1B/C model gunships, called Heavy Scouts, did the scouting or reconnaissance missions. When the smaller aircraft took over those missions, they were called Baby Scouts.
Bac Si - A medical doctor; a physician
Bangalore Torpedo - Long connectable tubes of explosives. The primary use of the torpedo is clearing paths through wire obstacles and heavy undergrowth. It will clear a 3- to 4-metre wide path through wire obstacles
BAR - Browning Automatic Rifle - M1918 - A light machine gun(mostly a WWII/Korea weapon) that used the .30-06 Springfield cartridge. The U.S. Army began phasing out the BAR in the late 1950s and was without a portable light machine gun until the introduction of the M60 machine gun in 1957.
Ba Mu`o` Ba - or "Ba Moui Ba" - Biere "33", (Vietnamese beer) which came in a bottle about the size of a US 12 oz., and tasted OK, most of the time. The other local beer was called "Tiger Beer", but was actually named Biere Larue, normally in a one liter bottle. Inconsistent in quality. Some bitter or worse. But occasionally you got a great tasting one.
Ba muoi lam - (“baa-mooee-lahm): Vietnamese for the number 35. Means the same as “butterfly;” a playboy.
Barbeque - Armored Cav units requesting Napalm on a target
BDA - Bomb Damage Assessment. Usually after a B-52 strike armed scout helicopters would be called in to see how much damage was done. Pilots sometimes had to wear gas masks while doing this. See Dunbar Slides #BD-205 and #BD-187
Beans and dicks - C ration of hot dogs and beans
Beaucoup: French word meaning many, much, big, huge, very, etc.
Beehive - (or Grapeshot) 105mm Artillery round: each round contained 8,000 one-half gram "flechettes" (pointed steel projectiles, with vaned tails for stable flight) packed tightly together; Called the 105 mm M546 APERS-T (Anti-PERSonnel-Tracer) round. It is said that the name beehive was given to the munition type due to the noise of the thousands of flechettes moving through the air resembling that of a swarm of angry bees. Attack helicopters had a similar warhead that could be used on their 2.75 inch rockets. They contained 2200 flechettes. Slang term was "Nails". This was a deadly munition that had to be used carefully and not close to friendly troops.
Berm - perimeter line of a fortification; usually raised above surrounding area; in the case of rice paddies it is called a Dike.
Betel nut (“beetle nut”): the leaves or root of the betel palm, which are mildly narcotic and are chewed by many Vietnamese, especially aged women, to relieve the pain of diseased gums. The cumulative effect of years of betel nut chewing is to totally blacken the teeth.
Bingo (Bingo Fuel) - a multiservice tactical brevity code for a low fuel state.
Bird - We often referred to our helicopters as "Birds"; like "We have three birds on standby."
Blues - UH-1 Slicks that hauled the Aerorifle Platoon or an element of the platoon. Cobras = Red, LOH's = White, Cobra plus LOH = Pink, UH-1H's (carrying troops) = Blue. Can also refer to the Aerorifle Platoon men. These terms may have came into fashion sometime after the arrival of the Cobra. see Browns
BMP - Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle
Boo-coo - bastardized French from beaucoup, meaning “much or many”
Boom Boom - as in GI want boom boom (sex)
Boom Boom Girl - prostitute
Bore Sighting - basic allignment of the weapon systems on a gunship
Bouncing Betty - A land mine which is propelled a meter or two into the air before exploding to increase the amount of damage inflicted on surrounding troops. The German S-mine (Schrapnellmine in German)
B Rations - was a United States military ration consisting of packaged and preserved food intended to be prepared in field kitchens by cooks.Like C rations in a bigger box.
BPED - Basic Pay Entry Date. It's the day you first entered the military.
Bravo-Zulu (BZ) - Well Done!
BRDM- Soviet Amphibious Armoured Scout Car.
Break Break - radio jargon for interrupting or ending a conversation with one station and calling another on the same frequency.
Break Squelch - to press the transmit button on the radio handset without speaking: twice for all-clear, once for enemy near
Broken arrow - Universal code meaning that a ground unit or camp is being overrun and to send all available assets. Also referred as a serviceman who tried to be a straight arrow and failed. (See straight arrow.)
Broomstick Flying - emergency flying an LOH (OH-6) Scout Helicopter from the left seat (copilot/gunner) with an broomstick handle instead of a cyclic stick. see Broomstick Flying War Story
A safety device for mini guns that were removed before flight. Slang for the front seater in a Cobra.
Bravo Zulu - (BZ) - Well Done!
BTR - a Soviet Armored Personnel Carrier
Browns - Platoon of Vietnamese infantry that were phased in in 1972 to replace the Centaur "Blues" (Aerorifle Platoon). see Browns discussion page.
Buick - radio slang meaning M48 Tank
Bullet Catcher– A safety device for the xm-136 mini guns that were removed before flight. Slang for the front seat pilot in a Cobra.
Bungee Cord - an elastic cord that was used to secure a free hanging machine gun from the top door jam of a Huey Gunship or and LOH Scout aircraft.
Bush: hostile areas outside of firebases and basecamps. "field", "jungle", "boonies", "Indian country"
Butter Bar - Slang reference for a Second Lieutenant
Butterfly -. a person who is not responsible or serious
Buy the farm - to be killed.
C-123 - (Provider) An Air Force twin engine cargo and military transport aircraft, smaller than the C-130, powered by both conventional propellers and by turbojet engines mounted under the wings. We saw it mostly as the primary aircraft for spraying Agent Orange and delivering supplies to the short dirt runways of special forces camps (see story and photo).
C-130 - (Hercules) An Air Force four engine airplane capable of hauling large bulky equipment, including artillery pieces and tanks, over long distances; able to land in tight spaces, slow to 125 knots for paratroop drops, and fly, if need be, with one engine. It is a tough, versatile heavylifter with plenty of “trunk” space.
C-4 - A plastic explosive called "Composition 4". C-4 has a texture similar to modeling clay and can be moulded into any desired shape. C-4 is stable and only explodes by the combination of extreme heat and shock wave from a detonator.
CAG - Combat Aviation Group
C & C - command and control
C & C Aircraft - Usually a UH-1D slick with a special set of radios for the commander. Some commanders used other helicopters like the OH-23G.
C Rations - or "C-Rats" is a U.S. Army packaged/canned combat meal for troops in the field when hot or regular meals were not an option. A left over from WWII.
Call Out - pilots transmiting a radio warning that a surface to air missile launch has been spotted.
Call Sign - A word and number assigned to the position of those who needed to communicate on the radio. If you received a call from "Centaur Six", you would be talking to the current D or F Troop Commander. "Centaur Three" would be the man serving as Operations Officer. see also Centaur Call Sign Discussion
Camp Swampy - North end of DaNang Air Force Base in Vietnam where a maintenance contingent of F Troop, 4th Cav, operated. F Troop is not even listed as being there in historic documents; but they were.
CAR-15 - The Colt Automatic Rifle-15 Military Weapons System or CAR-15 was a family of the AR-15 and M16 rifle–based firearms marketed by Colt in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Like a short M-16.
Carabiner - a metal loop, which can be opened on one side; used to help when rappelling on a rope.
CE - Crew Chief. Responsible for the daily maintenance of the helicopter and also was a Door Gunner in flight.
CG - Commanding General; usually refering to the 25th Inf Div Commander.
Chalk - is the number of a helicopters position in a formation flight. Chalk three would be the third helicopter. This term was needed to help the grunts on the ground, especially at night, know which aircraft they are to load into. Tail numbers were not often visible.
Charlie - Viet Cong; also gook, Victor Charlie, Sir Charles. It comes from “Việt Nam Cộng-sản”, which just means “Vietnamese Communists”. ... From here, “Viet Cong” was commonly further shortened to “VC”, which in the NATO phonetic alphabet is pronounced “Victor-Charlie”, which gave rise to the further shortened, “Charlie” designation.
Charlie Model - UH-1C model Huey Gunship. Basically a "B" model with a 540 rotor system.
Cherry -designation for new replacement from the states. Also referred as FNG (fucking new guy), fresh meat and new citizens.
Cheap Charlie -anyone who does not waste his money. ( “plenty cheap charlie.”)
Check it out -To examine something/anything or a roundabout way of agreement like “there it is.”
Checkmate Mission - the Centaurs used this term to describe one of their types of missions. This is where troops, normally the Aerorifle Platoon troops, usually with an interpreter, are landed to check out suspicious people, structures or activities. see Checkmate Mission Discussion also Roundup
Chicken Plate - Also called Chest Protector, is protective body armor for aircrews. It had a front pocket and stretchable webbing sides. It had an overlapping waistband with velcro to strap it on. The design was improved in 1968. The ceramic armor, though not as good as what the other branches of the service had, successfully protected against 30 caliber fire at 100 yards range. See Woody Gardner's video.
Chicken Rod - Two long bolts welded together then fastened to the barrel of the gunship door gunners M60 Machine Gun. Some were safety wired then later bolts with wing nuts were used. see War Story Chicken Rods
Chicom - Chinese Communist; a contemptuous term used to refer to a Communist Chinese person or one of their weapons manufactured in Communist China.
China Beach - The My Khe beach in the city of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, was nicknamed "China Beach" in English by American and Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. A favorite R&R center like Vung Tau in III Corps.
Chinook - CH-47 twin rotor cargo helicopter (slang "Shit Hook")
Chieu Hoi - an initiative by the South Vietnamese to encourage defection by the Viet Cong and their supporters to the side of the Government. Often misspelled as Chu Hoi. A VC who defects to South Vietnam
Chop Chop - food, or eat – used primarily by Vietnamese. Some troops used the words to ‘hurry up”.
Chopper - it meant helicopter in the old days. Nowdays it means motorcycle.
Chunker - the 40mm nose gun on a UH-1C Heavy Weapons Gunship. Also called Thumper
Chup Plantation - Rubber Plantation in Cambodia (NW of Tay Ninh). ARVN operation there in 1972.
Kelley's Book: Immed NW Phum Suong and 85 km WSW Snuol. 11°57’00’’N-105°39’00’’E, NC48-03 JOG. Cambodia.
Church Key - Old style beer can opener
CIB - Combat Infantryman's Badge. Men who personally fought in active ground combat while assigned as members of either an Infantry, Ranger, or Special Forces unit any time after 6 December 1941. This is the Infantryman's badge of honor.
CIDG - Civilian Irregular Defense Group. Friendly indigenous forces, usually organized and led by Army Special Forces teams
Circular Flying - in a helicopter, flying around an object while maintaining the nose of the aircraft to the object.
CKC - first model of the Russian SKS assault rifle
Clacker - a small hand-held firing device for a claymore mine
Claymores - or Claymore Mine - antipersonnel mine ( from Gaelic) “claidheamh Mor”. see story
Cluster Fuck - Nothing is going right, congested or bunched up.
Coka - Vietnamese pronunciation of “Coke.”
CO - Commanding Officer
Cold - a term to describe an area that is not under fire by the enemy. "The PZ or LZ is cold"
Composition B - The explosive used in the warheads of our 2.75 inch Rockets. It is made from castable mixtures of RDX and TNT. see 2.75 inch FFAR.
Conex - A conex is a very structurally strong steel box about seven feet high, six feet wide, five feet deep with two steel security doors. Normally used for shipping things overseas; however we used them for storing weapons and other equipment on the flight line. Conex is an abbreviation for "Container Express"
CONUS - CONUS - Continental United States, but generally used by Centaurs to mean "Home".
Conscript - a person forced to enlist in military service
Copy That - radio terminology meaning I got your message. see Wilco
Cordite - a smokeless explosive made from nitrocellulose, nitroglycerine, & petroleum jelly, used in ammunition.
Cordon and Search Missions. An element of no less than a full company would surround a hamlet or village predetermined by battalion headquarters before first light. Positions would be maintained not allowing anyone to leave until a unit of the South Vietnamese Police could be airlifted to search the hamlet or village for VC and NVA soldiers, as well as caches of food and supplies to be used by enemy forces.
Corral - The flightline area in Cu Chi where the Centaur aircraft were parked in revetments.
Cosmoline - is a waxy petroleum based rust inhibitor used on firearms going into long-term storage. Some weapons may have spent decades packed in cosmoline in a crate at a warehouse. It is extremely dangerous to leave in the SKS. It may seize the firing pin in the forward position. When fired the whole magazine will fire automatically.
Counter Mortar Standby - a helicopter gunteam on immediate standby to take action in case of a mortar or rocket attack
Covey FAC - "Covey" was the radio call sign of Air Force Forward Air Controllers often coordinating Air Strikes with F Troop Centaurs.
Crescent - the Crescent was an area northwest of Dau Tieng. see The Crescent - Sep 1970
Cowboy - South Vietnamese thieves and gangsters.
CRIP(Sqdn) - Combined Reconnaissance and Intelligence Platoon (one at each Bde HQ, joint ARVN & US personnel)
Crow's Foot - a four-pointed booby trap device which, when thrown, will land with one point up.
CQ - Charge of Quarters. Night duty assignment to guard entrance to quarters.
CTZ - Combat Tactical Zones. The French divided Vietnam into four tactical zones. Americans assigned these zones to I, II, III, and IV Corps (later referred to as Military Regions or MR).
CS Gas - a fine powder dispersed with an aerosol cannister (dispensed like smoke from a smoke grenade) that causes a burning irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat. Rated as non-lethal (you might think otherwise when you experience it). Used to drive the enemy out of tunnels and other hiding places. CS is a stronger version of Tear Gas.
CS Riot Powder - CS is a fine powder that causes burning eyes, coughing, breathing difficulty, stinging skin, and vomiting. It is used as an alternative to conventional lethal force. It can be packed in an 8 pound bag and spread over an area to keep people away.
Cupola - a gun turret on an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier; it is a location from which weapons can be fired in many directions that affords protection for the gunner.
Daisy Cutter -shell or bomb fitted with a fuse extension to provide detonation 1 to 6 feet above ground, minimizing the cratering effect and maximizing the blast effect. Used with large bombs (2000 lb) and 6-foot daisy cutter fuses to create an instant clearing in dense jungle for an LZ.
Danger Close - Calling in artillery or rocket support exceptionally close to friendly lines.
Dap- greetings involving hand contact; best known as a complicated routine of shakes, slaps, snaps, and other contact that must be known completely by both parties involved. Dap greeting sometimes include a hug.
Dawn Patrol - helicopters to go out early in the morning and check the Main Supply Route, then take a swing around the base camp looking for enemy activity or other bad things. see Dawn Patrol Stories
DD 214 - Department of Defense Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. see ETS
Dead Man Trigger - The trigger on a flex gun sighting system (like on the UH-1 Gunship and the AH-1G Cobra) that activates the weapons system to follow the movement of the gunners flex sight control. This does not fire the weapon, it just makes it follow the gunners movements.
Debridement Surgery - a procedure for treating a wound in the skin. It involves thoroughly cleaning the wound and removing all hyperkeratotic (thickened skin or callus)
DEROS - Date Estimated Return from Over Seas.
Detcord - explosive that looks like a rope, used to daisy chain claymores
DFC - the Distinguished Flying Cross
Diamond Head - was the radio call sign of B Company, 25th Avn Bn, 25th Inf Div, a Gunship Company
Diddy bopping - walking carelessly
Dike - a dirt berm surrounding a rice paddy; rice paddy dike.
Dinky Dau - to be crazy
Directional Gyro - Directional Gyro or Heading Indicator, a helicopter instrument, is a mechanical version of the Magnetic Compass and is normally a more stable indicator of direction. It works using a gyroscope.
DISCOM - Division Support Command
DIVARTY - Division Artillery
DMZ - Demilitarized Zone
Donut Dolly - volunteer women from the American Red Cross
Door Gun - an M60 machine gun used by a Crew Member (Door Gunner/Crew Chief) in flight. Used on a mount in the UH-1D and H model troop carriers (Slicks). Hung from a bungee cord in the UH-1B and C model Gunships. Used free hand in the OH-23 and OH-6 Scout helicopters. Other weapons and crew designed creations were also used as Door Guns.
DOR - Date Of Rank
DRV - Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North)
DSC - Distinguished Service Cross award. One step below the Medal of Honor
DT(Sqdn) - Dau Tieng
DTOC - Division Tactical Operations Center
Duce & a half - or Deuce-and-a-half: a 2 1/2 ton Army Truck
Duster - M42 40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun. Although initially designed for an anti-aircraft role, it proved highly successful when used in the Vietnam War against unarmored ground forces. see Rick Arthur TextPhoto 2.
Dustoff - a medical evacuation mission from the bush by a Helicopter; a designated Helicopter that performs medical evacuation.
Dzus Fastener - Pronounced "Zuis" is a fastener design that consists of a spring-loaded stud encapsulated in a diamond-shaped plate riveted in place on the outer panel. The stud is then rotated through a quarter turn which locks the stud to the spring. Handles aircraft vibration better than regular bolts.
Eagle Flight - a small, self-contained, and highly trained heliborne force. In our case, Aeroriflemen. Usually two UH-1C gunships (Hog and Scout) and a UH-1D with troops. It's greatest feature was that it was ready for immediate action, either alone or in conjunction with other forces. In later years it became Mini-Cav (Cobra, LOH & 2 UH-1H with troops)
Easter Offensive - The Easter Offensive in 1972 was a North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam. North Vietnam's goal was to overwhelm and capture South Vietnam and begin the process of reunification. see story's by Mick and Woods.
ECB - Electronic Control Box, commonly known as the “brain box” for the turret weapons systems.
ECU - the Environmental Control unit was an air conditioner installed in the AH-G Cobras in 1970 at the same time as the tail rotors were retrofitted from the left side to the right side of the aircraft.
Elephant Ear - or more specifically "Little Elephant Ear". An area along the Cambodian border due West of Katum. Mentioned in Mike Kelley's book as XT0588.
Enfilade - Weapon fire directed along the longest axis of a target.
ETS - Expiration of Term of Service. Upon separation, they receive form DD214, which indicates their former and future status.
Evaced - Medically evacuated (sent back) to the field hospital or Base Camp
F/4 - F Troop, 4th Cavalry Regiment
F-4 - The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom; a tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor aircraft/fighter-bomber. It has a top speed of over Mach 2.2; can carry more than 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs.
FAARP - Forward Area Armament and Refueling Point
FAC - Forward Air Controller; also see FAC Coordination article
Fade Out Factor - when a Starlight Scope goes white from excessive light like from a minigun or 51 cal tracers. see Nighthawk Sniper
Fast Mover - Jet Fighter or Attack Aircraft in close support of ground troops. Most often an F-4 Phantom
FAO - Forward Air Observer
FEB -  a Flight Evaluation Board is a Commander's tool to determine if an Officer should be terminated from aviation duties.
FEBA - Forward Edge of Battle Area
FFZ - Free Fire Zone. Anything in this area can be engaged.
FireFly - night helicopter search missions with huge lights. Later became NightHawk
Fire For Effect - the continuous firing of an artillerys battery’s cannon, sustained until a ‘cease-fire’ or ‘check-fire’ is called.
Fire Team - Two or more Centaur Gunships
Fire Team Leader - The leader of two or more Gunships
First Light - The time of nautical twilight when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon
Flameout - An engine failure; The run-down of a jet engine caused by the extinction of the flame in the combustion chamber. see story
Flashlight Mission - night helicopter search missions with huge lights. Later became NightHawk
Flare - illumination projectile; hand-fired or shot from artillery, mortars, or air dropped by helicopters
Flechette - a pointed steel projectile, with a vaned tail for stable flight. It is a French term meaning "little arrow" or "dart". A ballistic artillery shell (105 mm Artillery Beehive round) or smaller rocket (2.75 in FFAR) warhead packed with flechettes was fired and set off by a mechanical time fuse, scattering flechettes in an expanding cone. A very effective close range anti-personnel munition. Centaur pilots called them "Nails". - See a video.
FM - A Frequency Modulated radio used for to communicate air to ground, e.g. artillery warning nets, artillery firing units, ground forces (Comand and Control HQs, Div,Bde, Bn/Sqdn, Co/Trp/Btry, Aero Rifles, LRRP, etc.) Referred to on air as “Fox Mike” as in “Contact me on Fox Mike when you are in the AO”. See Avionics Equipment for details on air born radio types.
FNG - Fuckin' New Guy see story
FO - Artillery Forward Observer. Attached to the Centaurs from an Artillery Unit.
FOD - Foreign Object Damage. Trash/crap on the ground that can damage hovering helicopters
Ford - radio slang meaning M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
Foo Gas - a mixture of explosives and napalm, usually set in a fifty-gallon drum. A sling load of these drums would be dropped from a helicopter on an enemy position and exploded using machine gun or rocket fire.
Fox Mike - radio jargon for the FM radio. It was used primarily for ground to ground and air to ground communications
Frag - fragmentation grenade. Also refers to the murder of fellow soldiers in retaliation for an action or order that resulted in somebody getting hurt or killed. This usually happened by tossing a live grenade into a latrine or barracks occupied by the individual.
FRAC - XXIV Corps was inactivated on 30 June 1972 in the final stages the withdrawal of U.S. ground combat forces from Vietnam, and its assets formed the basis for its successor, the First Regional Assistance Command (FRAC). Very little info on it anywhere.
FRAGO - Fragmentary Order; abbreviated form of an OPORD.
Frags - fragmentation grenades
Freedom Bird - YOUR airplane back home
Friendlies - other US or allied troops on the battlefield
Friendly Fire - An accidental attack, whether by shooting or by dropping bombs, upon one's own troops, such as U.S soldiers shooting at other U.S. soldiers.
Front seater - Copilot/Gunner in an AH-1G Cobra Gunship. Sits in the front seat of this tandem seat aircraft.
FSB- Fire Support Base - a temporary military encampment to provide artillery fire support to infantry operating in areas beyond the normal range of fire support from their own base camps.
FUBAR - Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition
G2 - Division Intelligence Officer and Staff
G3 - Division Operations officer and Staff
Gas Mask - Aircraft Gas Mask - The M24 gas mask entered service in 1962 and was used up until the mid 1990s by helicopter crews. It is a copy of the M14 series tank crew mask. The accessories include a clear and and a black outsert (like an insert but on the outside) to protect eye lenses, an air pathway that reduced fogging, anti fogging cloth and a chemical protective hood ABC-M7. see Aviation Gas Mask discussion. Gas mask for ground troops was the M17.
Grease Gun - the M3, an American .45-caliber submachine gun adopted for U.S. Army service on 12 December 1942, as a replacement for the Thompson. Lighter, less expensive but possibly less accurate
Guard - An aircraft emergency frequency (243 MHz) tunable on the UHF radio. Also known as Military Air Distress (MAD).
Gun Line - refering to the tactical firing positions of naval guns off the shores of Vietnam
Go Dau Ha - An abandoned airfield used by the Centaurs as a standyby location for Gunships covering the MSR Convoys and as a POL point for their OH-23G Light Scout helicopters (XT415242). Named after the nearby small village.
Going Hot - a gunship pilot in command telling his crew on intercom to arm and ready their weapons for battle. see Weapons Hot.
Gook - Negative slang term for Viet Cong.
GP - General Purpose, as in GP Tent; a large rectangular tent sleeping 10 to 12 men.
Grease Gun - was a .45 cal American submachine gun adopted for U.S. Army service in 1942 and designated the "M3". Cheaper to produce, lighter and more accurate than the Thompson. Nicknamed for its similarity to a mechanics grease gun.
Greenhouse - the green tinted plexiglass roof panels over the pilot and copilot of the UH-1 Huey's was nicknamed greenhouse.
Grid Square - on a standard 1:50,000 military map it represents a 1000 square meters of terrain (1000 meters by 1000 meters.
Grunt - a foot soldier; infantryman
Gunship - heavily armed helicopter, a UH 1B or C Huey; later in war an AH-1G Cobra.
Gun Target Line - or GT-LINE: The direct line on a map from the Artillery firing battery to the target. Aircraft had to be careful to stay out of this line to avoid being hit by an artillery round.
Gun Team - normally two Gunships. Three gunships were called a Heavy Team.
GVN - Government of Vietnam (South)
Hai Van Pass - The Hai Van Pass is a 20-kilometer strip of road that joins the city of Da Nang and Lang Co in Hue Province. At 500 meters above sea level, it's the highest pass in the whole of Vietnam.
Hardover - When an actuator of the SCAS of the AH-1 Cobra becomes stuck in an extreme position.
Hanoi Hannah - the Tokyo Rose of the Vietnam war.
Harringbone - one type of military formation (named after the Herringbone pattern). The front vehicle faces forward, while the rest line up behind them, facing left and right, alternating as such and the rear vehicle faces to the rear.
H & I - Harassment and Interdiction; preplanned Artillery fire to mess with the enemy
Heading Indicator - is a helicopter navigation instrument and is a mechanical version of the Magnetic Compass. Normally a more stable indicator of direction than the compass. It works using a gyroscope. Also called a Directional Gyro.
Heavy Scout - a UH-1C gunship with flex-guns and 2.75 inch rockets. Less ordnance than the Hog.
Heavy Weapons (Hog) - a UH-1C gunship with more firepower than the Heavy Scout. Mostly more rockets and/or a 40mm chunker on the nose.
HEI - High Explosive Incendary round
HF - High Frequency AM radio used for long range communications in a very large selections of frequencies and modes of transmission. Used at higher echelons. See Avionics Equipment for details
HOG - a UH-1C gunship with full artillery firepower of rockets and grenades. Heavy Weapons Section of Gun Platoon.
Hot LZ - a landing zone with known enemy contact
HH-43 (Huskie) - Call Sign "Pedro", Kaman HH-43 "Huskie," a small helicopter that was used for airborne fire fighting and air base crash rescue. In May 1964 they deployed to Vietnam and Thailand, where they took on the additional role of combat rescue. (see related story)
HH-53 (Super Jolly Green Giant) - the first helicopter specifically designed for combat search and rescue [CSAR] operations. Equipped with armor plating, self-sealing fuel tanks, three 7.62 miniguns and an external rescue hoist with 250 feet of cable. It could transport 38 combat-equipped troops on side facing troop seats, or 22 litter patients and four medical attendants or 18,500 pounds of freight. The external hook had a 20,000-pound capacity.
Hobo Woods - an area northwest of Cu Chi Base Camp, infested with tunnels and enemy forces. see map
Ho Chi Min Trail - Supply paths from North Vietnam to South Vietnam that traveled through Cambodia and Laos to supply the communist forces fighting in South Vietnam.
Honey dippers - Those chosen to burn excrement
Honor Thief - A term that we use to describe those that falsify records or otherwise claim to have received military medals during the war. This includes those that claim to have served in Vietnam or in a particular unit in Vietnam, when that is not true. see Stolen Valor
Hooch - also spelled hootch - GI sleeping quarters at base camp
Horseshoe - horseshoe shaped bend in the Song Be (Oriental) river near Duc Hoa. A known hot bed of VC activity. Anyone remember the coordinates?
Hot LZ - Landing zone under enemy fire
Hot Mike -Instead of pushing a button to talk on the helicopter intercom, it is set to where the mike is always on
Iron Triangle - VC dominated area near Cu Chi See Map
Hotel 3 - name of a main Heliport in Saigon Heliport. Located approximately one km south south east of Tan Son Nhut air base. Home of the Razorback gunships.
Howitzer - short cannon used to fire shells at medium velocity and with relatively high trajectories; usually a 105 mm towed howitzer called a "Baby Howitzer" because of it's relatively small size and portability.
Humping - Walking from one location to another while carrying full rucksacks and supplies -routes can be through dense jungle, along paths or trails, through streams and rice paddies and sometimes uphill / downhill on very steep slopes. To march; to carry; to be burdened with.
HUEY - The UH-1 "Iroquois" helicopter; icon of the Vietnam war
Hunter-Killer Team - or "Pink team" of OH-6A scout (LOH or Loach) and AH-1G (Cobra) attack helicopters. (Shoulder patch). See Hunter-Killer Team Video
ICCS - The International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS) was an international monitoring force created on 27 January 1973.
IFF - Identification Friend or Foe. A transponder system that transmitted and received a signal identifying the aircraft. See Avionics Equipment for details.
IFR - Instrument Flight Rules = a set of rules for a pilot flying on instruments in contrast to Visual Flight Rules (VFR), primarily as a means of navigating through inclement weather.
Incoming - (shouted): “Hit the dirt!” Warning for enemy aerial barrage (mortars, artillery, rockets, etc.)
IP - helicopter Instructor Pilot. A step up from IP was SIP a Standardization Instructor Pilot
IR - Infrared; sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than those of visible light. It is therefore generally invisible to the human eye. An Infrared Illuminator, like on a main battle tank light (also used on Nighthawk helicopters), paints the target with infrared light (like an invisible flashlight). A device like IR binoculars or an IR scope can then see the target area. see story Nighthawk Sniper
INTSUM - Division Intelligence Summary
Iron Triangle - VC dominated area near Cu Chi See Map
Infrared Scope - Target is lit up by an infrared light that can be seen with the infrared scope.
Issue FAC - "Issue" was the radio call sign of Air Force Forward Air Controllers often coordinating air strikes with Centaur aircraft.
Jack Benny - Benny always claimed to be 39 years old. Pilots, when wanting to adjust a radio frequency may reference JB and a number. i.e. Jack Benny down point 5 would reference frequency 38.5…JB down would be 40.
Jesus nut - large nut which holds the main rotor blade system on the rotor shaft. The Song
Jet Fuel or JP4 - This was the fuel used in our aircraft (except for the OH-23G which was aviation gas). JP-4 was a 50-50 kerosene-gasoline blend that had a low flash point (for fire safety), evaporated easily and floated on water. (JP = "Jet Propulsion"). It was used for other things like burning the shit from our latrines.
Jinking - This maneuver is the sudden, rapid displacement of the aircraft's flight path in three axes.see story
JMC -Joint Military Commission, or more appropriately - The Four Party Joint Military Commission. Dennis Hogan and other F/4, D/17, and 62nd Aviation (Royal Coachmen) pilots and crew chiefs (no gunners - unarmed Hueys) flew these missions during the 60 days after the Final Ceasefire.

JOES - Jungle Operations Extraction System: This system was developed after careful evaluation of the Maguire and Palmer Rig systems, while considering those items of equipment available to the individual soldier. The JOES can be quickly constructed from components readily available from the supply system. The individual soldier requires very little (10 to 15 minutes) training in what he will be required to do if he needs to be extracted, and only a maximum of 5 minutes is required for him to actually prepare for extraction.
Joe Shit the Rag Man - un-squared-away sodier, boyfriend of rosy rottencrotch. bad example,
Jolly Green - large combat search and rescue [CSAR] helicopter. see HH-53 (Super Jolly Green Giant)
Junkies - soldiers addicted to drugs.
K-bar - combat knife
KBH - Killed By Helicopter
KHA(Sqdn) - Killed Hostile Action
KIA - Killed In Action
Kit Carson - Kit Carson Scout Program recruited Viet Cong defectors to work with small unit US forces. see Tom Fleming video
Klick - military slang for kilometer, 1,000 meters; It is less than a mile (.62 miles)
KY-28 - A voice encryption device installed on the FM radio in Hueys See Avionics Equipment for details.
Laager - Tanks or APCs circled in a defensive position, usually at night.
Last Light Patrol - helicopters to go out before dark and check the Main Supply Route, then take a swing around the base camp looking for enemy activity or other bad things. see Baby Scouts Net 2
LAW or M72 LAW - Light Anti-tank Weapon - is a portable one-shot 66 mm unguided anti-tank weapon. It may have been built to fight armored vehicles but we mostly used it for fortified positions.
Lead - the first helicopter in a flight of two or more helicopters. Last helicopter is "Trail"
Lima Charlie - (LC) - international phonetic alphabet words for “LC,” short for “loud and clear” in Army radio parlance.
Little Bear - was the radio call sign of A Company, 25th Avn Bn, 25th Inf Div; a Troop Lift Unit
LOA - Letter of Appreciation - example
LFT- Light Fire Team, Two helicopter gunships. The 25th Div normally had a Light Fire Team on standby 24/7 for quick reaction and support of ground units. Centaurs and Diamond Heads shared that role.
Loach Alley - an enemy infested area running along the south side of the Saigon River between bends in the river called the Mushroom and the Top Hat. see map.
Lock and Load - arm and ready your weapon; get ready!
LOH or "Loach" - OH-6A Observation Helicopter; egg shaped and very crash worthy
LORAN - Loran-C was a hyperbolic radio navigation system that allowed a receiver to determine its position by listening to low frequency radio signals transmitted by fixed land-based radio beacons. It was for Fast Movers. No Centaur aircraft had this receiver installed. A LORAN Station was added to Tan My in August 1969.
Long House - or longhouse is a type of long, proportionately narrow, single-room building built by peoples in various parts of the world including Vietnam.
LP - Listening Post: usually a three to four man position set up at night outside the perimeter away from the main body of troopers, to act as an early warning system against attack.
LRP TM(Sqdn) - Long Range Patrol Team
LRRP - Long Range Recon Patrol. Elite teams of 5-7 men deployed into the deep jungle to gather information about enemy without being caught. See Answers page
LRRP Extraction - helicopter recovery of a LRRP Team. Often times under enemy fire.
LRRPs- referred to the freeze dried rations that LRRP patrols were issued. They were light-weight and when mixed with hot water were very tasty. .
LSA - LSA has two different definitions. Both “Lubricant, Small Arms” and “Lubricant, Semifluid, Automatic (weapons)” . The current official military supply nomenclature for LSA is “Lubricating oil, semifluid”.
LST - naval vessel supporting amphibious operations by carrying vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore.
LT - U.S. Army Lieutenant. Normally a First Lieutenant Platoon Leader of the Aerorifles or a Helicopter Aircraft Commander. Pronounced "ell-tee" which was short for lieutenant.
LZ - Landing Zone. A designated area on the ground where troops are inserted/extracted by helicopeter
M113 - Armored Personnel Carrier APC Tracked Vehicle
M134 - see Mini-Gun
M14 - American Rifle, Caliber 7.62 mm, M14, is a select-fire battle rifle that fires 7.62×51mm NATO (.308 in) ammunition. Very accurate and also used as a Sniper rifle.
M159 or XM159 - a cylinder shaped 19-Tube rocket launcher for 2.75 inch (70mm) Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) used on the AH-1G Cobra and at least one application on the UH-1C Hog #172
M16 - the standard U.S. military rifle (5.56mm) used in Vietnam from 1966 on. It replaced the M-14.
M2 Carbine - the selective-fire version of the M1 carbine (a 30 calibre seimi-automatic rifle) capable of firing in both semi-automatic and full-automatic.
M2 system - an electronically controlled, hydraulic-powered, air-cooled, gas-operated, belt-fed M60C machine gun. It was a variant of the standard M60 machine gun designed for aircraft mounting. The M2 system provided two M60 machine guns, one mounted on each skid of the OH-23G "Raven" Observation Helicopter and other small aircraft. The mounts provided flexible elevation, with 650 rounds per gun stored externally. They were fired electronically from the cockpit by the pilot. see war story "The Second Year"
M3 Grease Gun - an American .45-caliber submachine gun adopted for U.S. Army service on 12 December 1942, as a replacement for the Thompson. Lighter, less expensive but possibly less accurate
M24 - Aircraft Gas Mask - The M24 gas mask entered service in 1962 and was used up until the mid 1990s by helicopter crews. It is a copy of the M14 series tank crew mask. The accessories include a clear and and a black outsert (like an insert but on the outside) to protect eye lenses, an air pathway that reduced fogging, anti fogging cloth and a chemical protective hood ABC-M7. see Aviation Gas Mask discussion
M41 Tank - An older American tank that became the mainstay of ARVN Armored units. It was highly effective against North Vietnamese tanks. photo in Ken Mick story
M5 - 40mm Grenade Launcher mounted on the front of a UH-1C Gunship (Hog).
M551 Sheridan - a light tank armed with a 152mm gun/launcher. Its light weight allowed it to traverse mud better than most vehicles but suffered from a low rate of fire in combat. 
M60 - the standard lightweight machine gun used by U.S. forces in Vietnam
M79 - Grenade Launcher - is a single-shot, shoulder-fired, break-action grenade launcher that fires a 40x46mm grenade which uses what the US Army calls the High-Low Propulsion System to keep recoil forces low, It can fire a wide variety of 40 mm rounds, including explosive, anti-personnel, smoke, buckshot, flechette, and illumination. Some called it the "Blooper".
Ma Deuce - Browning M2 .50 cal machine gun.
MACV - Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Directed the war effort itself.
Mag Compass - short for Magnetic Compass, a basic navigation instrument in the helicopter. Also called a Standy Compass.
Mama-san - pidgean word used by GIs for older Vietnamese women. Also papa-san for older men.
MASH - Mobil Army Surgical Hospital - The 2nd MASH was active in south Vietnam from October 1966 to July 1967. They then became The Medical Unit Self-Contained Transportable (MUST) units.
MASN - Military Aircraft Serial Numbers—1908 to Present reference book
Mast Bumping - is where the rotor head (part that holds the blades) on a helicopter impacts the main rotor shaft (shaft that the rotor head is attached to).
McGuire Rig - Device used to extract soldiers from the jungles of Vietnam. It would be suspended from a helicopter and used to extract soldiers from areas without a suitable pick-up zone. It was simple, inexpensive, and effective. It did not require the soldier to carry any special equipment. Designed by Sergeant Major Charles McGuire, member of Project DELTA, a Special Forces reconnaissance project. Stabo rig came later.
Medivac - Medical evacuation, shortened to medevac or medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to wounded being evacuated from a battlefield. In an emergency a helicopter not equipped with Medical Personnel or equipment is also used.
Mermite Can - Mermite Tactical Military Coolers that first began production in the 1950s and were manufactured and used through the 1990s. It consists of an insulated outer shell and three internal containers. Highly insulated unit is made for military use in order to keep food or fluids hot or cold, it's a very effect system and can keep ice frozen for days.
MIA - Missing In Action. A soldier who is missing and whose death cannot be confirmed.
MIKE Force - Nickname for the Mobile Strike Force Command, Special Forces unit in Vietnam. They served with indigenous soldiers selected and trained through the largely minority Civilian Irregular Defense Group and were led by American Special Forces and Australian Army Training Team Personnel.
Mine - A land mine is an explosive device concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets.
Mini-Cav - Take a Hunter-Killer Team and add a couple Slicks with troops and you have a Mini-Cav" bap
The concept of "Mini-Cav" is similiar to what we called an "Eagle Flight" (1967-1968). Small fast unit to swoop in and take care of business quickly then get out; like snatching up some suspects. But even the term Eagle Flight has several meanings depending on which unit in Nam was using it. see article MiniCav and article Mini-Cav Story.
Mini-Gun - The M134 Minigun is a 7.62×51mm six-barrel rotary machine gun with two high rates of fire 2000 and 4000 rounds per minute. It has Gatling-style rotating barrels driven by an electric motor. The "Mini" in the name is in comparison to larger caliber designs that use a rotary barrel design. It is the weapon of the UH-1C model gunship XM-21 flex gun system.
Minnie Hog - a UH-1C Heavy Weapons Hog Gunship with 19 tube rocket pods and side miniguns. see Gunship configurations.
Monkey Strap - a harness which tethered the Helicopter Door Gunner to the aircraft. Think of it as a seat belt with an extension. Usually 10 feet long or less.
MOC - Maintenance Operational Check
MOS - Military Occupational Speciality. Try this site for Nam MOS's and this site for modern MOS's
MP - Military Police
MPC - Military payment certificates; form of currency used to pay U.S. military
MR - Military Region. Vietnam was divided into four areas representing I Corps, II Corps, III Corps and IV Corps (North to South). Later these regions were referred to as Military Regions (MR1, MR2, MR3 amd MR4)
MSR - Main Supply Route (Highway 1) from Saigon to Tay Ninh
MTOE - Modified Table of Organization and Equipment. A modification of a military Table of Organization & Equipment.
Mule - a 4-wheel drive, gasoline-powered truck/tractor type vehicle that can carry up to a 1/2 ton off-road. Also called "Mule," "Military Mule," or "Mechanical Mule".
Mogas - Automotive gasoline suitable for use in piston-engined gasoline powered aircraft. Also called "Avgas".
MTF- Maintenance Test Flight
MU(Sqdn) - March Unit
Mushroom - name for a bend in the Saigon River a the top of the Hobo Woods. see map.
N1 & N2 RPM - N1 and N2 are the rotational speeds of the engine sections expressed as a percentage of a nominal value. ... The first spool is the low pressure compressor (LP), that is N1 and the second spool is the high pressure compressor (HP), that is N2. The shafts of the engine are not connected and they operate separately. It is complicated (more info pdf)
Nails (or Flechettes) - Slang for a 2.75 inch Folding Fin Rocket anti-personnel warhead fired from an Attack Helicopter. This warhead contained approximately 2,200 twenty grain flechettes. The flechettes are released by a base-mounted, fuze-ignited (integral fuze) expulsion charge at rocket motor burnout. Fuzed weight of the flechette was 9.3 pounds. Since the rockets themselves were not known for their accuracy, this dangerous warhead could not be used near friendly troops. The Artillery units had a similar round called a Beehive. - See a video
Nam - Vietnam
Napalm - thickened gasoline, resembles Jello in bombs. In slang "maple syrup in a zippo-track"
Nap of the earth (NOE) - Flying at treetop level (or below) to avoid enemy detection and attack in a high-threat environment. This left you open for small arms fire and tested your navigation skills.
NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization. An international organization which consists of the U.S., Canada, Britain, and other European countries, all of whom have agreed to support one another if they are attacked.
NDP(Sqdn) - Night Defensive Position (where someone out overnight sets up a defensive position by circling the tanks)
NG - National Guard. Many of our aircraft from Nam went to the National Guard.
Night Hawk - a UH-1H with a Xenon light and a (NOD) Night Observation Device (AN/TVS-4) (like a big spotter scope) and different combinations of weapons; usually a minigun door gun. Some called it "FireFly" and others called it "Flashlight". There were also missions with a sniper and starlight scope (see stories Flashlight Article, 1969 article, 1969 video, Minigun, twin 60's, Aug 1971, Nighthawk Sniper)
Nomex - refers to the flame-resistant, polymer material, flight suits and gloves that were developed for aviators beginning in 1968.
Newbee - new guy in the unit or new at a specific job.
No Joy - unsuccessful: A pilot reports "no joy" when an attempt to establish visual or radio contact with another aircraft is unsuccessful; or when an attempt to acquire a target - either visually or on tactical radar - is unsuccessful.
Nui Ba Den - means "Black Lady Mountain". We called it "Black Virgin Mountain". The mountain is located approximately 10 km northeast of Tây Ninh and 96 km northwest of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). It is honeycombed with caves and is covered in many large basalt boulders. We owned the top and bottom; the VC owned everything in-between.
Number One GI - you the best.
Number Ten GI - you the worst.
NVA - North Vietnamese Army; NVA troops vs Viet Cong troops
Oasis - a map checkpoint. A swampy area near Trang Bang. see B57 Crash
OCS - Officer Candidate School - where select Enlisted Soldiers can become Commissioned Officers
OER - Officer Efficiency Report - A senior officier (the Rater) writes an evaluation of a junior officer, normally yearly. The next higher officer adds comments as the Endorser.
OGE - Out of Ground effect - Helicopter is hovering high enough to where there are no hard surfaces below for the downwash to react against.
OH-23G - light recon "Observation" helicopter built by Hiller; gas engine; no hydraulics
OH-58 - light recon "Observation" helicopter built by Bell to replace the LOH-6A. (big mistake)
OH-6 - light recon "Observation" helicopter built to replace the OH-23; nickname "Loach"
On The Deck - Flying at ground level just above the trees. Nap of the Earth
OP - (Observation Post): location outside of the perimeter used by infantry personnel during the daytime as an early warning device
opcon - Operational Control. One unit is temporarily placed under the command and control of another.
Operations Officer - The Operations Officer continuously monitors current operations of the Troop. He and his team keep track of aircraft and crew assignments and provide briefings for flight crews going out on missions. He does not command the battle but performs battle tracking and makes operational decisions within his assigned responsibility. He alerts the commander or executive officer of events that exceed his designated authority to control.
Operation Shotgun - or Shotgun Program. see Operation Shotgun-1965
OPORD - Operations Order
Orbit -"The Orbit" referred to the airspace above a battle. With all kinds of aircraft potentially in orbit over the battle, it sometimes became a problem. Gunships, Scouts, Flare ships, Nighthawk, Fast Movers, Puff, C&C, other air traffic. All had to contend with possible artillery or naval gunfire. It is amazing it worked as well as it did.
Order of the Spur - Cavalry tradition which might be compared in usage to the more famous Combat Infantryman's Badge of the Infantry Branch. Regardless of a soldier's US Army Branch, if he or she serves in a ground combat role for 30 days or more then the Army can award them the Combat infantryman's Badge, a coveted award, and they can wear it on their uniform over their heart. Those serving in a Cavalry Squadron (Squadron being similar in size and strength of an Army Battalion), may be awarded the Order of the Spur Award for achievement by a Squadron Commander. A Silver Spur Award or in combat a Gold Spur Award.
Oriental River - the Song Vam Co Dong river that runs North and South passing Go Da Hau was nicknamed "Oriental" by many of the Centaurs in the early years.
OV-10 Bronco - Air Force (and Marine Corps) fixed wing aircraft used by forward air controllers in support of ground troops. It replaced the L19 (O-1) Birddog.
One Six - Platoon Leader
P-38 - small collapsible can opener
Pacification Program - The program was created on 9 May 1967, and included military and civilian components of both governments. It was called CORDS (Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support). The mission was to counter the effects of the insurgency. To Centaurs it meant don't shoot back.
PD-680 - is a very strong Mineral Spirit degreasing solvent used by the Military for cleaning weapons and equipment. Highly flamable, believed to be a cause of cancer. Replaced in Dec 1999
PE - a detailed inspection of a helicopter that must be performed every 100 hours of flight. We never figured out why the acronym was PE instead of the more logical PI.
Pedicab - a three wheel bicycle taxi
Penta-prime - A black oily mixture that was sprayed to keep the dust down on roads and dusty areas, particularly within the artillery and aviation base camps. (Polycarbonate based on disphenol A).
People Sniffer - a machine created by the Army's Chemical Corps that could detect human smell like urine and sweat. It could be mounted in a helicopter and used to sweep an area marking "hot spots" or left hidden on the ground by a LRRP team to sense movement of troops. see article
Perfume River - Perfume River or Huong River is around 80 kilometers long, and owes its name to the fact that it flows through many forests of aromatic plants before reaching Hue, bringing with it a pure and fresh aroma.
Peter Pilot - Copilot of the aircraft. Not the pilot in command.
Phoenix Program - Some called it the Operation Phoenix. Created by the Central Intelligence Agency involving the American, Australian and South Vietnamese militaries. It lasted from 1967 to 1972, was designed to identify and destroy the Viet Cong (VC) via infiltration, torture, capture, counter-terrorism, interrogation, and assassination. Designed to target civilians, not soldiers.
PIC - Pilot In Command of the aircraft.
Pickled - 'Pickle' means to release bombs. The bomb release switch is called the pickle switch
Pineapple Grenade - A fragmentation hand grenade known as a “pineapple” grenade, because of its shape, structure, and appearance of a pineapple fruit.
Pink Team - or Hunter-Killer Team - of OH-6A scout (LOH or Loach) and AH-1G (Cobra) attack helicopters. also see White and Red Team.
Pintle Hook - the Cargo Hook that hangs below the helicopter, on a cable, that a sling load is fastened to.
Pintle Mount - a fixed mount on a UH-1 Huey Troop helicopter that allows the door gunners gun to be freely traversed and/or elevated while keeping the gun in one fixed position. 
Pip - a small dot or crosshairs on a gunsight providing the Predicted Impact Point of the fired weapon.
Pipe Smoke - Call Sign for the aircraft recovery teams of the 520th Battalion. The "Pipesmoke" teams were unique in that both the rigging and extracting elements were under unified operational control. They recovered many Centaur aircraft.
Piss tube - verticle tube buried 2 to 3 feet into ground for urination
Point - Lead man in a patrol.
POL - Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants - This is where we refueled our aircraft.
POL Point - A place set aside for refueling our helicopters.
POV - Privately Owned Vehicle
POW - Prisoner Of War." A soldier that has been taken captive by the enemy.
PR - Public Relations person like photographer or article writer for Public Information Office of the Division. Also used as slang to mean of Puerto Rican nationality.
PRC-25 - The AN/PRC25 is a short range manpack, portable VHF FM combat-net radio transceiver. AN/PRC means "Army/Navy, Portable, Radio, Communication."
PreFlight - a final inspection of the helicopter by the pilots before every flight, performed with a US Army Check list for that aircraft.
Prick 25 - The PRC-25 was a Portable Radio Communication backpack FM radio used by ground troops. It was a tube type radio replaced in later years with the almost identical looking solid-state PRC-77.
Prick 77 - The PRC-77 was a solid-state Portable Radio Communication backpack FM radio used by ground troops. It gradually replaced the PRC-25 starting in 1968.
Project Delta - one of just three Special Reconnaissance (SR) units formed by the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) during the Vietnam War to collect operational intelligence in remote areas of South Vietnam. Established at Nha Trang in 1964
Proximity Fuse (2.75 Inch Rocket) Electronically sets off the rocket explosion at a predetermined height above the ground.
PSP - stands for Perforated Steel Planking; rectangular interlocking steel plates, with holes to lighten it, that locked together to form a solid landing surface. The M8A1 mat (22 by 144 inches ) was developed for Nam (without the pierced holes that exposed the soil). Widely used for construction of bunker roofs revetments and field fortifications, as well as service roads inside fire support bases.
PT76 - The PT-76 is a Soviet amphibious light tank used by the North Vietnamese Army. The 76 stands for the caliber of the main armament: the 76.2 mm D-56T series rifled tank gun.
PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A psychological disorder caused by experiencing a trauma. Many Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD upon their return from their tour of duty.
Pucker Factor - assessment of the fear factor, as in the difficulty/risk in an upcoming mission
Puff The Magic Dragon - Nickname for the United States Air Force (USAF) C-47, (the military version of the DC-3) that had been modified by mounting three 7.62 mm General Electric miniguns to fire through two rear window openings and the side cargo door, all on the left (pilot's) side of the aircraft, to provide close air support for ground troops
Punji stake/Punji Pit - sharpened bamboo stick (booby trap), often smeared with excrement to cause infection if stepped on, and usually hidden in a camouflaged pit.
PZ - Pickup Zone. Designated area where troops are to be picked up by their helicopters
QL1 - National Route 1A (Vietnam) or "QL1" was and is the trans-Vietnam highway. The route begins at km 0 at Huu Nghi Quan Border Gate near the China-Vietnam border. The route ends at Năm Căn township in Cà Mau Province. 2300 km long, 10 to 12 m wide, paved with asphalt. Built by the French. (QL is Vietnamese acronym for : Quốc lộ or National Highway)
R & R - Rest and Relaxation
Rappelling - descending (exiting) from a helicopter by using a long doubled rope coiled around the body and fixed to the aircraft.
RB(Sqdn) - road block
RIF(Sqdn) - reconnaissance in force
RIF - Reduction In Force. The Army had to greatly reduce its size after Vietnam. This resizing was called "Reduction In Force" or RIF. A lot of good people were let go. Many came back in the service at a lower rank. Here is one story.
Recoilless Rifle - A recoilless rifle is a 105mm breech-loaded, single-shot, man-portable, crew-served weapon, like a rocket launcher that has a rifled barrel to stabilize the munition just like a regular rifle.
Reconnaissance - is an active mission concerned with enemy, terrain, and/or weather. It seeks out enemy positions, obstacles, and routes.
Red ants - They are red but their real name is "Weaver Ants" apparently from the way they weave their nests. When they bite, they slice into your skin with their mandible, then spray acid into the wound, adding insult to injury. See Red Ants discussion and Attack of the Red Ants mov.
Red Team - Two or more AH-1G Cobra attack helicopters as a team on a mission. see White & Pink Teams
REFRAD - Acronym for Released From Active Duty
Red X - A Red "X" placed in the aircraft log book shows that a deficiency exists and the aircraft is unsafe for flight.
REMF - Acronym for Rear Echelon Military Force...derogatory designation is Rear Echelon Mother Fucker
Repo Depo - Replacement Depot is a military unit where men comming in from the States are processed to combat units in the field.
Retreating Blade Stall - As the rotor blades rotate, the blade on the right is moving forward into the relative wind. The blade, when on the left, is going the same direction as the wind and therefore must go faster than the wind to get any lift. That blade is called the retreating blade. If for some reason the retreating blade cannot keep up, it looses lift, or stalls, causing the aircraft to roll over to the left. It can be fatal.
Revetment - a wall type of fortification usually made of sand bags or steel plating that gave some protection for our helicopters while they were parked on the flight line. They could be "L" shaped or "Parallel".
Road Runner - name of a standard mission where a gun team (Hvy Scout and Hog) would deploy from Cu Chi and remain on standby at Go Da Hau while the daily convoy was enroute from Tan Son Nhut to Tay Ninh.
ROE - Rules of Engagement
RON - Remain over night
Rocket Boxes - Wooden boxes that the 2.75 inch Rockets were delivered in. The wood was reused to build things. Also filled with sand to build fortifications (used like sand bags).
Rome Plow - were large, armored, specially modified, bulldozers used by the Army to clear jungle areas. Name comes from where they were built in Rome, GA
Roundup Mission - Prior to 1967 crews referred to Checkmate Missions as Roundups.
RP - Release Point is a geographic point, easily recognizable from the air, where a flight arrives in proper formation and then proceeds to a designated area under less centralize control.
.............or Rendezvous Point (Orbit Point) - also a geographic point, easily recognizable from the air and in close proximity to the LZ (Landing Zone) where aircraft orbit pending instructions.
RPMs - Refers to the helicopter main rotor blade Revolutions Per Minute. A very critical factor of helicopter flight. When referring to weapons it means the number of Rounds Per Minute the gun can fire.
RLO - Real Live Officer
RTO - Radio Telephone Operator was the enlisted soldier that carried the communications radio (PRC-25 in Nam) for the small unit commander. The large antenna and the fact that he was the units link to support and coordination made him a prime target for the Viet Cong and NVA.Here is one story
Rucksack - also ruck; packs carried by grunts
RF/PF - Ruff-Puff - Rural Forces/Popular Forces. Indigenous friendly forces located within the villages. These units were more civilian than military. They were equipped with surplus U.S. weaponry from WW-II and Korean conflict era(s). BAR's, M-1 Carbines and M-1 Garands. No standardized uniform to wear.
Rocket City - Tay Ninh
Rocket Belt - the area encompassed between two arcs swung from central point within an installation; one are representing maximum range of rocket, the other representing the closest most likely point of penetration of enemy rocket launch units. Arcs may be swung from more than one point within complex depending upon number and disposition major installations therein.
RPG-7 - (later replaced by the RPG-2) is a Russian portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank (or in our case anti-helicopter) rocket propelled grenade launcher. "RPG" is an acronym for three Russian words not for Rocket Propelled Grenade. That is something our soldiers named it. It can be confusing in that an RPG-40 anti-tank weapon is not "Rocket" propelled, but hand thrown.
RPG-40 - Russian hand held and hand thrown anti-tank grenade. (created in 1940)
RPK - a 7.62×39mm light machine gun of Soviet design, developed in the early 1960s. see Lost weapons story
Ruck Sack - an Army backpack
Rules of Engagement - specific regulations for conduct of air & ground battles; says when you can shoot.
Rusty Tube - Call sign the guards on duty at night used to have flares sent up so we could see the activity at Tan My. "Rusty Tube" was also literally, an old mortar that sat outside of the Blues Hootch at Tan My.
RVN - Republic of Vietnam; also meaning South Vietnam
Sabot round a structural device used in firearm or cannon ammunition to keep a sub-caliber flight projectile, such as a relatively small bullet or arrow-type projectile, in the center of the barrel when fired, if the bullet has a significantly smaller diameter than the bore diameter of the weapon used.
S1 - Squadron (or Battalion) level shop that coordinates all aspects of personnel services, finance services, chaplaincy activities, command information services, and legal services support
S2 - Squadron (or Battalion) level shop that deals with military intelligence gathering, security clearance records and classified information control.
S3 - Squadron (or Battalion) level shop that deals with training and operations
S4 - Squadron (or Battalion) level shop that deals with general upkeep and maintenance of Army supplies and equipment.
SA-7 Strella - Russian Surface to Air Missile launcher. The Strela-2 system was given to North Vietnam forces, where along with the more advanced Strela-2M the Russians say it got 204 hits out of 589 firings against US aircraft between 1972 and 1975. A total of approximately 40–50 kills are attributed to Strela-2/2M hits between 1970 and the fall of Saigon, almost all against helicopters and propeller-driven aircraft. Nasty weapon but didn't do well against Jets.
Sampan - a relatively flat bottom Vietnamese boat; primitively built and in various sizes. A peasant boat.
Sappers - Highly trained units of the NVA/VC with the mission to penetrate American defensive perimeters at night and blow things up.
SAR - Air Force Search And Rescue Team in Vietnam. Short-ranged HH-43 Huskie helicopters (call sign Pedro); later replaced by specially equipped HH-3 and HH-53 Jolly Green Giant helicopters: escorted by A-1 Skyraiders (call sign Sandy). Later in the war, this escort role was taken over by A-7D Corsair II jets. Can also mean a local search and rescue mission for the Centaurs.
SAS - Stability Augmentation System used to assist the pilot in control of Pitch, Roll, and Yaw of the aircraft. Specific nomenclature varied with aircraft type. Also referred to a SCAS or Stability Control Augmentation System.
Satchel Charge - pack used by the enemy containing explosives that is dropped or thrown and is generally more powerful than a grenade
Sapper - a VC or NVA soldier highly trained in engineering, demolition and guerrilla tactics. Under an umbrella of mortar fire, the sappers often raced through a US or ARVN compound tossing gas grenades and canvas satchels loaded with explosives.
SCAS - Stability Control Augmentation System. The Bell Helicopter's terminology for a SAS system. It is a 3 axis "Gyro" system that cancels undesired motion of the helicopter during flight. The electrical signals from the SCAS actuate electronic solenoids that manipulate the hydraulic system. Tough to fly without it.
Scout Ship - a helicopter performing a reconnaisance misison. Early in the war the UH-1C Heavy Scout Gunships were used. Sometimes the Heavy Weapons gunships. The OH-23G scouts became armed and used in that role. After that it was primarily the LOH (OH-6A) Baby Scouts.
Scramble - alert to launch the standby Gunship team or a Slick for a Medevac mission. The Troop Operations would receive a request for immediate Gunship Support and set off a siren. The Gun team on standby would scramble to their aircraft and go to the rescue. (a 24hr, 7 days a week, 365 days a year mission for D Troop). The alert for a possible Medevac mission was the Oogha Horn.
Search and Destroy - A type of tactical mission: Insert ground forces into hostile territory, search out the enemy, destroy them, and withdraw immediately afterward.
Secondary Explosion - explosion that occurs after the initial explosion. Usually happened when an enemy ammo cache is set off by our attacking fire.
Shaming - goofing off
Shitbird - messy or undisciplined person; a fuck up.
Shake & Bake - a non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the United States Army who was promoted quickly through an NCO school with little actual time in the military.
Shit Burning - we pooped into a sawed in half 55 gallon drum of JP4 jet fuel and burned it. see Discussion Pg
Shithook - Slang for a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Shit on a Shingle - or SOS - Slang for a piece of toast with chipped beef and gravy.
Short Round - ordnance/artillery, which is landing short of the intended target.
Short timer - 30 days and counting to end of tour
Shotgun Program - or Operation Shotgun. see Operation Shotgun-1965
Shrapnel - fragments of a bomb, shell, or other object thrown out by an explosion.
SIP - Standardization Instructor Pilot - an instructor of Instructor Pilots
Sitrep - Situation Report; made hourly to higher ups, or on demand
SKS - a Soviet semi-automatic self loading carbine; 7.62x39mm round. Replaced in the early 1950's with the AK-47.
Skylark - radio slang meaning M551 Sheridan Tank
Skyraider - The Douglas A-1 Skyraider is an American single-seat attack aircraft. It was the close air support workhorse of the RVNAF for much of the Vietnam War.
SLAE - Standard Lightweight Avionics Equipment installed in Cobra and LOH aircraft. Very latest solid-state radios combining Receiver/Transmitter and control head into one unit. See Avionics Equipment for details.
Slick - UH-1D or H model "Huey" helicopter used for transporting troops and supplies
Sling Load - Cargo carried beneath a helicopter and attached by a lead line and swivel.
SNAFU - Situation Normal All Fucked Up
Snake - nickname for the AH-1G Huey Cobra.
SOG - Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). Its existence once denied by the US Government, it wasn't until long after the war that the SOG story could even be told.
SOI - Signal Operating Instructions - a small code book to look up secure call signs for ground units.
SOP - Standard Operating Procedures (normally a written document)
SOS - "Shit on a Shingle" Slang for a piece of toast with chipped beef and gravy. Common breakfast meal.
Spider hole - camouflaged VC foxhole
Spooks - Sneaky Petes - People from CIA and other agencies doing shady things for the Vietnam War.
Spooky - Call Sign of the Douglas AC-47 USAF Fixed wing gunship (also nicknamed "Puff, the Magic Dragon"). It was the first in a series of gunships developed by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War (the military version of the DC-3). Equipped with miniguns capable of firing 6,000 rounds a minute.
SPOTREP - Spot Report
Spring Offensive - The massive attack by North Vietnam's army into South Vietnam, begun on March 30, 1972 and lasting until October 22, 1972 also called the Easter Offensive.
Squadron - Cavalry unit, similar in size to a battalion
Stabo Rig - "STAbilized BOdy" was an extraction harness/rig, used from a helicopter to extract men from the jungle. It was far more secure, safe and comfortable than the McGuire rig, and allowed the unrestricted use of the operator's hands during 'hot' extractions from a combat landing or pickup zone.
Stable Boy - the Centaur UH-1D helicopter used as a Maintenance and recovery ship
Stand Down - when a unit ceased operation in Vietnam and prepared to return to the States.
Starlight Scope - A rifle sighting scope for night use. Light passes through a lens made up of optical fibers, then strikes a photo-emissive element -- a light-sensitive material that converts photons into electrons. These electrons feed into a series of tiny devices similar to TV picture tubes, each one multiplying the image brightness. Produces a clear green image of the target. see story Nighthawk Sniper
Stars and Stripes - Newspaper (initially started in WW1): was intended to provide uncensored news from soldiers and for soldiers. Informative YouTube historic video of our Stars and Stripes Magazine Click here
Stickem Up - when a UH-1C Gunship Fire Team, low on fuel and ammo, decides, or is directed to pick up (capture) VC suspects in the field. Usually the lighter (Heavy Scout) ship lands and the Heavier (Heavy Weapons) ship provides cover. see War Story Grenade
Strobe Light - commonly called a strobe, is a device used to produce regular flashes of light.
Swashplate - a device that translates input via the helicopter flight controls into motion of the main rotor blades. Because the main rotor blades are spinning, the swashplate is used to transmit the pilot's commands from the non-rotating fuselage to the rotating rotor hub and mainblades.
Swiss Seat - is a simple rappel harness made from a piece of rope or webbing.
Tank Farm - A main fuel storage and distribution depot
T-54 - Soviet Battle Tank that replaced the T-34 - used by the enemy forces.
Tac Air - referred to the Air Force Fighter aircraft of the Tactical Air Command that were called in to support U.S. Army ground operations.
Tarmac - Material used for surfacing roads or other outdoor areas, consisting of crushed rock mixed with tar. It is often used to describe the apron or runway of an airport.
Task Force 160 - see 160th SOAR(A)
TC -Track Commander (of an Armored Personnel Carrier)
TDY -Temporary Duty
TET - January holiday. Vietnamese Lunar new year.
TET Offensive - one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War, launched on January 30, 1968 by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army
The Wall- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a 2-acre (8,000 m²) national memorial in Washington, DC. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for (Missing In Action) during the War. See also
Thompson - a .45 cal American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1918, that became infamous during the Prohibition era.
Thumper - the 40mm nose gun on a UH-1C Heavy Weapons Gunship. Also called Chunker
Thunder Road - Highway 1 – main north / south highway
Ti ti - (“tee-tee”): Vietnamese for “small.”
TLN - Tropic Lightning News - Official Newspaper of the 25th Infantry Division (see Links to find articles)
TN(Sqdn) - Tay Ninh
Toi khong boit- (“toy kohng bee-ech”): Vietnamese for “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.”
Toilet Bowl - In 1972 Centaur AH-1G's and UH-1H helicopters received a jet exhaust modification that redirected the hot jet engine exhaust up into the rotor blades to disperse it and reduce the heat signature making it harder for the Russian heat seaking missles (SA-7's) to acquire them as a target. It looked a bit like a Toilet Bowl. see the second MyPagePhoto at Ken Micks MyPage.
TOC - Tactical Operations Center. A radio control center in the Troop area ran by the Operations Officer and crew. Call sign Centaur 65
TOE - (or TO&E) A U.S. Department of Defense document which prescribes the organization, staffing, and equippage of units. It also provides information on the mission and capabilities of a unit.
TWS - Together We Served - Is a commercial website for members of all the military services. Primary input for the Centaurs provided by David Olsen.
Top Hat - name for a bend in the Saigon River on the eastern edge of the Hobo Woods.
Top - Top sergeant; unit First Sergeant
Topping - A Test Pilot procedure that demonstrates that the engine is capable putting out maximum power for a given condition. If not done correctly can result in Mast Bumping.
Tracers - Red and Green - Projectiles or ammo rounds that are built with a small pyrotechnic charge in their base. Viet Cong and NVA weapons used a tracer round that appeared green in color in low light or at night. Our weapons used red ones. Generally every fifth round in a belt of ammo was a tracer.
Tractor Tail Rotor - This was a modification of the AH-1G Cobra that moved the tail rotor from the left side (pusher) to the right side (pull or Tractor effect) and provided an increase in the usable in-ground-effect (IGE) operating envelope and improved the directional control characteristics while maneuvering.
Trail - The trailing or wing aircraft in a flight of two helicopters. First aircraft called "Lead"
Trail watcher - soldier left to watch a trail and sound the alarm If the enemy approaches
Transational Lift - The rotor blades become more efficient as forward airspeed on take off increases. The aircraft may be too heavy to hover but may still be able to fly, if it can move forward into new air. Between 16 and 24 knots, the rotor system completely outruns the recirculation of old vortices and begins to work in relatively undisturbed air providing more lift.
Transition - the training required for a pilot to become rated in a different aircraft than he is already trained in. This is the formal training required before a pilot is allowed to fly that different aircraft.
Trim - when pilots speak of Trim they are usually talking about adjusting the pedal controls of a helicopter (Yaw) to where the helicopter is flying smoothly into the wind.
Troop - Cavalry unit, same size as an Infantry company
Tunnel rat - Small in stature American soldier sent into VC tunnels. Extremely dangerous job.
Turtles - your replacement taking his good old time arriving in country
UHF - An Ultra High Frequency radio used primarily for air traffic control and in-flight emergency. Referred to on air simply as “Uniform” as in “Contact Lai Khe Tower on Uniform before approach”. See Avionics Equipment for details on air born radio types.
USS Gordon - USS General W. H. Gordon (AP-117) was a troop transport that served with the US Navy in World War II. After the war, she was transferred to the US Army and served as USAT General W. H. Gordon. The first elements of D Troop (Air), 3/4 Cav deployed to Vietnam on this ship in 1966. See first 13 pics of Slater SlideShow.
VHF - Very High Frequency radio used primarily for air to air communications. Referred to on air simply as “Victor” as in “Contact your high bird on “Victor”. See Avionics Equipment for details on air born radio types.
Victor - Radio slang term for VHF like "go Victor" meaning change radios to VHF
Viet Cong or "VC" - The communist guerilla forces in South Vietnam..
Viet Minh - Shortened term for the Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi (League for the Independence of Vietnam), the organization established by Ho Chi Minh in 1941 to gain independence for Vietnam from France.
Vietnamization - The process of withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam and turning over all fighting to the South Vietnamese. This was part of President Richard Nixon's plan to end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
VIP - Very Important Person
VNAF - The South Vietnam Air Force (Vietnamese: Không lực Việt Nam Cộng hòa – KLVNCH), officially the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF; French: Force aérienne vietnamienne, FAVN) (sometimes referred to as the Vietnam Air Force or VNAF) was the aerial branch of the Republic of Vietnam Military Forces, (South Vietnam) from 1955 to 1975. wikipedia
VR - Visual Reconnaissance generally by a Light Scout Helicopter team; Look, Identify, Report.
VTR(Sqdn) - Vehicle Tracked Recovery (M88 or M578)
VTR(Sqdn) - Vehicle Tracked Recovery (M88 or M578)
WHA(Sqdn) - Wounded Hostile Action
White Team - a pair of LOH Scout Aircraft (OH-6A) chosen for a mission. also see Red & Pink Team
Weapons Hot - Armament (weapons) on the helicopter are ready to live fire. "Going Hot" is a term used by the crewmembers.
WIA - Wounded in action. A battlefield casuality
Will Comply - a radio response meaning that you go the message and will take action. see Copy That
Wing Stores - The short stubby wings on the AH-1G Cobra which were for the sole purpose of holding weapons like rockets, miniguns and 20mm Cannon.
Wolfhound - Call sign of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Battalions, 27 Inf Regiment, assigned to the 25th Inf Div
WP or "Willie Pete" or White Phosphorous - is a chemical munition that burns with intense heat and produces billowing white smoke. White Phosphorus or "WP" or "Willy Pete" warheads on our 2.75 inch aerial rockets worked great for marking a target. Gunships often carried a few rounds for initial marking or verification of a target or exploding foo gas drums. Used in both aerial rockets and hand grenades
Xenon Light - a 50 million candlepower searchlight (AN/VSS-3) from the M551 Sheridan light tank, mounted in the cabin door of a UH-1D or H model, and operated by a crew member. Had both white light and infrared modes. Later versions worked in conjunction with a (NOD) Night Observation Device (AN/TVS-4), like a big spotter scope. The missions they flew with this setup were called Night Hawk.
Xin loi - (sin loy) a polite Vietnamese phrase literally meaning "excuse me" or " pardon me", but used sardonically by GIs to mean "sorry about that"
XM159 or M159 - a cylinder shaped 19-Tube rocket launcher for 2.75 inch (70mm) Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) used on the AH-1G Cobra and at least one application on the UH-1C Hog #172 (now called M200)
XM-16 - a system of four M60 machine guns, two mounted in unison on each side of a UH-1B or C Gunship and flexibly controlled by the left seat pilot with a special sighting device. see Conversion to XM21
XM-21 - a system of two Miniguns, one on each side of a UH-1C Gunship and flexibly controlled by the left seat pilot with a special sighting device. see Conversion to XM21
Yards - Montagnards.  Yard is short for Montagnard, a French word meaning; “mountaineer.” Member of any one of a number of semi-nomadic, aboriginal tribes which live in the mountains of Vietnam.
Zap - to kill or seriously wound.
Zero Dark Thirty - pre-dawn; early.
Zippo - Brand of lighter most commonly carried during the war. Soldiers engraved them to show their personality
Zoomie - Occupants of the LOH and Slick door gunner hootch 1972-73
Zulu - casualty report.