Cassi Creek: Sunny, partly cloudy, 87 degrees at 1300
By their words you will know their war.
The armed forces have a work-related language peculiar to them. To further complicate situations, each war has a subsection of words, graffiti, and phrases all its own.
WWI gave us “No man’s land” for the area between the trenches.
WWII gave us “Island hopping” from the way the war in the PTO was conducted. “Kilroy was here” along with a paired graffiti emerged in the ETO.
Korea donated “Human wave Attacks” and “Mash Unit.”
VietNam spawned its own litany. I’ll note a few of them.
My sub section of the litany is determined by my assignment as a medic in an infantry unit.
From VietNam, we still recall today:
“Grunt.” – the infantry soldier
Search and destroy - Mission to eliminate a village later called “search and seizure” in an early effort at political correctness.
Zippo Squad – team assigned to light village structures chosen to be burned.
“Hump the boonies” – patrol outside the wire
“hump a ruck” carry a back pack in the bush.
P-38 – C-ration can opener – I still have mine.
“Dust Off.” - the use of helicopters to remove casualties from battles and transport them to the best available medical unit based upon triage and the capabilities of the medical units.
CA – Combat assault – insert troops by helicopter.
Hot LZ - landing zone taking fire
Hoist Mission – required a helicopter to hover while wounded were lifted to the ship by electric winch. The chopper and crew were exposed and subject to being shot at by enemy troops during the whole process.
DEROS – Date Estimate Return (from) OverseaS departure date
Short timer – soldier having only a few days left to serve in VietNam.
Various pidgin phrases entered the lexicon
“Bac si” Vietnamese for Dr. Used also for medics
Dinky Dau - crazy
Didi mau - leave immediately
“Number one – the best relic from Japanese American pidgin
Number ten – the worst relic from Japanese American pidgin
Souvenir -request for gifts or black market items by LIP’s
And when the weight of the war fell onto our shoulders and refused to let go, when the extraction birds were tasked to another purpose, leaving the troops stuck in the field with no resupply and no way to stay dry, warm, or safe, all we could say was:
Fuck it! Don’t mean nothing! Drive on!