Alpha Company

Bravo's sister company in First Recon Battalion, commanded by the highly popular and respected Captain Patterson, the polar opposite of Bravo's commander Encino Man.

America's Shock Troops

A catch phrase invoking Donald Rumsfeld's plans of a lean, stripped-down invasion force modeled after German forces of WWII; it is a deliberate, self-conscious reference to the German Shock Troops, the SS, used to spearhead blitzkriegs across France and Poland. Ferrando takes pride in knowing his battalion will be the premiere shock-troop unit of the entire Marine Corps.


A loud, ungainly amphibious vehicle used to transport Marines on the ground in Iraq and also used as a mobile fighting platform.

A-O (Area of Operations)

An A-O can be as large as all of Iraq or as small as the area around a Marines encampment.


Marine slang for any weapon system or unit that packs a lot of fire power; e.g., "We're rolling with a lot of ass today." Means: "We will be accompanied by tanks or attack helicopters today."


Radio call sign for First Recon's Alpha Company; "Assassin Actual" is Alpha's Company Commander, Captain Patterson.

Assault Through

Primary Marine tactic when encountering a close ambush; linked to the mantra drilled into every Marine since day one of boot camp when every Marine must repeat: "I am a Marine, and every Marine is a rifleman and a rifleman's duty is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire..." This is, in a nutshell, the doctrine of the entire US Marine Corps.

AT4 Rocket

The ubiquitous anti-tank rocket carried by Marine ground forces; fired from a self-contained plastic tube about a meter long and weighing just a few kilos, it can destroy a heavy tank. During Iraq invasion most AT4s are fired into Iraqi homes to clear out potential enemy forces.

Atropine injector

Atropine is a chemical that counteracts certain nerve agents. Atropine injectors are issued to troops who expect to be preparing or receiving chemical attacks, and in this instance, Iraqis.


To wear down, verb version of "attrition" pecliar to the military.

B.R.C. (Basic Reconnaissance Course)

The school a Marine must attend and graduate from to become a Recon Marine; the most sought-after training course in the Corps; only about one percent of all Marines qualify to enter B.R.C. and half of those who enter fail to complete it.

Battalion Commander

Lt. Colonel Stephen Ferrando; commander of the 370-man strong First Recon Battalion, call sign Godfather.


Black-knitted watch caps typically worn by sailors; a powerful status symbol, only Recon Marines are allowed to wear them within the First Division.


Excited; refers to linked rounds fed through a machine gun; can also be used an intensifier, as in "That guy is a belt-fed son of a b***h," i.e. a real son of a b***h.

Blouse his boots

To tuck pant-legs into the tops of ones boots and keep then in place by wrapping a metal spring around the fabric just below the boot-top; part of Ferrando's hated Grooming Standard; not only are the springs used in the boot blousing uncomfortable, blousing one's boot insures that all the ambient sand will pour directly into the wearer's boot.

Blue Force Tracking Antenna

An antenna for the Blue Force Tracker, a new computerized mapping system that -- when it occasionally works properly -- identifies the locations of all "blue," or friendly forces and the locations of all known "red," or enemy forces. Locations of such forces across the entire Middle East are updated every 30 seconds; Sgt. Colbert possesses one of only a handful such Blue Force Trackers in the entire battalion.

Boonie Cap

A standard issue floppy field hat, like a camouflaged version of the hat worn by Gilligan in Gilligan's Island; AKA soft cover.

Bound past

"Bounding" is a specific form of maneuver favored by the Marine Corps, employed by two-man fire teams or the entire division.

Buck Fever

Too quick to identify threats; a hunting term that comes from the expression, to "put buck's horns on a doe," i.e. seeing a valid target when there is none.

Butterfly Trigger

A safety trigger that requires two thumbs to actuate.

C.G. (Commanding General)

Always means General Mattis, Commanding General of the First Marine Division, when these marines use the phrase.

C.O. (Commanding Officer)

Usually applied to the Battalion Commander (Maj. or Lt. Col.), or less frequently the Company Commander (Capt.), but never to a Platoon Commander (Lieut.).

C.O.I., freqs covered, freqs plain

Encryption lingo necessary to operate radios.

Captain America

Derisive nickname for Captain Dave McGraw, commander of Bravo's Third Platoon, sister platoon to our heroes in Second Platoon. Note: Although Captain America is a rank above Lt. Fick, as commanders of respective sister platoons they are peers with one another.


Casualty evacuation; similar to the older phrase med-evac; cas-evac technically means an evacuation in a combat zone of a patient who has not yet been stabilized but it's become the cool way to say any form of medical evacuation.

Casey Kasem

A mocking nickname applied to Encino Man's aide de camp Gunnery Sgt. Ray Griego, based on the smarmy host of the Top-40 radio show and the voice of Shaggy in the original Scooby Doo! cartoon series.


Brand name of a hard candy provided to US troops in the meal rations but seldom consumed due to the belief that they produce bad luck.

Cleared hot

Given permission to fire your weapon by a superior.

Cobra Gunship

Armored helicopter used only by US Marines; unique because Cobras work in extremely close proximity to Marine ground forces.

Colonel Joe Dowdy

Commander of Regimental Combat Team One; Popular among his troops for his reputation of caring about their welfare; later relieved of his command by General Mattis for not being aggressive enough and risking his troops to achieve battlefield goals.

Command Vehicle

Lt. Fick's Humvee, configured like a pick-up truck with a canvas covering.

Completely outside of what First Recon Does

This battalion is trained to swim or parachute behind enemy lines, not to drive into attacks in Humvees. Their motto is "Swift Silent Deadly."

Condition One

A verb that means to put one's weapon on red con one; rack a round into your chamber.


A visual or physical encounter with enemy forces, said when you either see them or they start shooting at you.


Fierce swirls of dust common to Iraq, which dance across landscape and in some cases will collide with a person, tent or vehicle. They range in height from a few meters to several hundred meters; AKA dust devils.

D.C.U. (Desert Camouflage Uniform)

Any field garment with desert camouflage.


Direct Air Support Communications headquarters, with one based on the ground and one based in an AWACs plane.


Keeping with their nautical tradition, anything Marines stand on is the deck, be it on a ship, the desert or the floor of a tent.

Delta Company

A company of reservist Recon Marines expected to be attached to First Recon Battalion; Delta will prove to be a bunch of under-trained, overzealous, poorly equipped cops-on-leave and office guys who know nothing about war.

Deuce Gear

A web of straps and hooks worn as an outer garment, to which one affixes extra gear such as ammo packs and canteens; AKA Load Bearing Vest or L.B.V.

Devil Dog

A Marine.


Smokeless tobacco used by American fighting forces; a dip is a quantity of tobacco placed between one's lips and gums; to dip is the habit of consuming smokeless tobacco.

Donkey Di*ks

Venerable Marine Corps term for a variety of phallic-shaped implements from engine hoses, to gas can funnels, to cleaning brushes for large mortar tubes.

Echo Four Lima

Refers to Corporal Lilley, whose pay-grade is "E-4" and whose last name begins with "L." In radio code phonetics he becomes "Echo Four Lima." Sergeant Colbert, whose pay grade is "E-5," would become "Echo Five Charlie" over the radio.

Encino Man

Captain Craig Schwetje, Commander of Bravo Company, Lt. Fick's immediate superior officer; the nickname is a reference to the dim-witted Neanderthal hero of the film Encino Man; our Encino Man is a former football star, none too bright, with an ape-like face; he is also referred to in phonetic alphabet code, in which "Encino Man" is changed to "Echo Mike."

Enlisted Tent

Area where privates through sergeants sleep; the senior non-commissioned officers such as Staff Sergeants, Gunnery Sergeants, Master Sergeants and the Sergeant Major are technically of the enlisted ranks, they occupy an elite position somewhere between sergeants and officers.


Over-the-counter diet pills, now banned by Marines as a speed-like stimulant.


A collapsible shovel carried by all Marines; short for "Excavation-tool."

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