Guide So You Want to Play Soldier?


Sep 11, 2019
So you're dead set on playing a military character. Should be simple right? Slap on some camo, throw out some military lingo, gun down some players and zombies for F R E E D O M. . . In reality, that's really just Hollywood and the game industry's idea of how the military operates. It sells seats and game copies, but definitely isn't an accurate depiction of the armed forces, especially not the United States. After all, the average consumer doesn't want to play as a cook, a supply driver, or aircraft ground crew.

This guide is directed towards those aiming to create a military character and give some ideas on how to flesh them out in more ways than just "I'm an infantryman" or "I'm a veteran that served in Afghanistan".

As a side note, know that I mean no disrespect to the current and former servicemen and women of the armed forces. In my belief, playing the role of soldier is far more difficult than people seem to think, and properly reflecting them in an accurate manner is far more respectful. Otherwise you just end up looking like one of the many Stolen Valor dunces caught on camera.

So, let's get started. (Know that this guide is still under construction.)

An Overview:
  • 1 - The Basics
    • 1.1 - U.S. Military Branches, Reserves, and National Guard
    • 1.2 - Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Code
    • 1.3 - Rank, Promotion, and Time Requirements
    • 1.4 - Contract Terms and Discharges
  • 2 - What you SHOULD know
    • 2.1 - Bootcamp and Schools
    • 2.2 - Operating a Firearm, Military Style
    • 2.3 - Unit Size and Composition
    • 2.4 - Your Unit and Deployments
    • 2.5 - Radio Chatter and NATO Phonetic Alphabet
    • 2.6 - Military Time
  • 3 - Enlisted Life
    • 3.1 "Why We Serve" and How You Got Stuck Here
    • 3.2 Disciplining the Undisciplined
    • 3.3 A Day in the Life
    • 3.4 Enlisted Sense of Humor
    • 3.5 Being Wounded
  • 4 - Officer Life
  • 5 - Veterans and Leaving the Military
    • 5.1 - So You Just Got Back Home
    • 5.2 - Readjusting to Civilian Life
    • 5.3 - Benefits and the VA
    • 5.4 - On Depicting PTSD and other Issues
  • 6 - Common Terminology, Acronyms, and Jargon
    • 6.1 - Terminology and Acronyms
    • 6.2 - Slang and Jargon

1 - The Basics

1.1 - U.S. Military Branches, Reserves, and National Guard

As to be expected of a country that pumps hundreds of billions of dollars into it, the United States Armed Forces is H U G E. No one organization could properly manage the various branches as a whole; as such, it is divided into five branches (six if you count the fledgling Space Force).
  • United States Army - Founded on June 14th, 1775, the US Army serves as the land based branch of the US military. This is the backbone of the US military and the nation's primary forces when engaged in a conflict. Represented with the widest swath of roles, ranging from the simple infantryman to armored, artillery, logistics, communications, and so many more.
  • United States Navy - Founded on October 13th, 1775, the US Navy serves as the naval warfare service branch of the US military. Its capabilities and size make it the largest naval power in the world, and since World War II, has been the de facto protectorate of free trade globally with fleets and ships found across the globe. Represented with a range of roles including sailors, airmen, and a variety of other choices.
  • United States Marine Corps - Founded on November 10th, 1775, the USMC has technically fallen under the wing of the Department of the Navy since 1834. In the modern day, it engages in expeditionary and amphibious operations. Unlike other branches, due to the nature of marine operations, they are equipped with a variety of equipment used by all branches, ranging from small boats and armor to helicopters and jets.
  • United States Air Force - Founded on September 18th, 1947, the USAF strives to secure and maintain air superiority in the theaters of operations the US engages in. The USAF specializes in a variety of roles ranging from strike based operations to reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. They also provide aid in rescue operations for other branches where needed.
  • United States Coast Guard - Founded on August 4th, 1790, the United States Coast Guard works in tandem with the navy to uphold maritime law (primarily in the coastal waters of the United States). Among other roles, the Coast Guard commonly keeps outside aliens from entering the United States via the ocean.
Each branch has their own Reserve Components, members of the military that are not engaged in active duty service. Reservists are expected to fulfill their service commitment, consisting of one weekend a month and two weeks each year. They typically serve alongside active duty members of their respective branches. Reservists can be activated by the President to full time active duty at any time to support federal military operations abroad.

Unlike the Reserves, the Army National Guard and Air National Guard are under the command of their respective state governments. National Guardsmen are, like reservists, are expected to fulfill a service commitment of one weekend a month and two weeks a year. They can be called up by the governor of a state in response to threats of violent civil disobedience, natural disasters, and other problems. However, in times of war, National Guard units can be federalized by the President and brought into full time active duty and sent to support federal military operations abroad.

1.2 - Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Code

Each branch has a variety of roles and occupations that an individual can obtain. As said prior, not everyone is an infantryman on the front lines of combat. In fact, most servicemen are not. Infantrymen only make up 15% of the Army; 12% for the Marines.

The Armed Forces are like a giant clock, and each part is important in keeping it running. If you thought the man pulling the trigger was all that mattered, think again. Someone needed to feed the soldier, transport him to the frontline, construct cartridges, and so on. Although they may not seem as glamorous as infantryman, there are numerous roles to pick, and it could lead to some interesting interpretations of playing a military character that are more than just "infantryman".

All five branches make use of their own systems for job identification whilst in the military. A serviceman can have multiple specialties, meaning one is qualified in more than one job. If given multiple specialties, then their primary function is called a duty military occupational specialty (DMOS). You should know these like the back of your hand.

1.3 - Rank, Promotion, and Time Requirements

One of the funniest things that I have seen during my time roleplaying is how some people believe they can blindly throw a rank on their character, no matter an age. No, you're not going to be a major at the age of 21 in the age of modern military bureaucracy. Experience and respect are earned over time; if you want to play a man or woman of higher rank, you're going to have to sacrifice youth for it. In general, the earliest someone can enlist is 17 (with parent's permission) or 18, whereas an officer will first go through college and enter military service at the age of 23.

Each Branch follows its own rank system noted by different insignia and nomenclature. These are separated into three groups, enlisted, warrant officers, and commissioned officers, each with separate pay grades. The higher the rank, the more responsibilities entrusted upon the serviceman, and the higher the pay grade.

Enlisted and Officers are simple enough, but warrant officers probably deserve a little explanation. Warrant officers are a separate group that rank above NCOs, officer candidates, cadets, and midshipmen, but below the lowest officer (O-1). Warrant officers are highly skilled, specialty officers dedicated to a single specific field, serving as a technical expert and providing guidance and expertise to enlisted and commissioned officers alike. They are experts in their specialty, ranging from knowing the ins and outs of tanks to helicopters and so on. In one anecdote, a Chief Warrant Officer of over 40 years service could tell just by listening to the noises an M1 Abrams passing by that there was a problem with the tank's transmission and that it would give out in five minutes if it wasn't replaced. They just know, that's how in depth their knowledge and expertise is.
Who doesn't want to be promoted? Better rank, better pay, right? Whilst one has the option to refuse a promotion, the number of drawbacks generally outweigh, especially considering the Army and Navy have policies that essentially remove one from the service should they go too long without promotion. So promotion is good. As one rises the ranks, promotions grow further apart and the responsibilities for the serviceman grow. From E-1 to E-4, promotion is practically guaranteed. Upon attempting to rise from E-5 (Sergeant) and upward, the serviceman must be a reviewed by a promotion board and selected for promotion. This page serves as a good breakdown of the process.

Promotion as an officer is far more competitive and rigorous, but offers far greater opportunities and benefits. Based on one's deployments and stations, he or she will be given numerous opportunities to distinguish themselves for promotion. It is through these stations that promotion boards will analyze and decide upon whether one should go up the ranks or not. This page offers a very loose breakdown, though further research is encouraged if you want to play a military officer properly, particularly higher ranked ones.

Finally of note, the mandatory retirement age for enlisted members (up until 2018) was 55. This was pushed up to 62, matching the mandatory retirement age for officers. Keep this in mind depending on what year the lore takes place. You can't be in the military forever...nor would you want to, to be honest.''

1.4 - Contract Terms and Discharges

I hope you're ready to sign the dotted line, cause we're ready to discuss term contracts. How exciting. All branches use the same enlistment contract, the DD Form 4/1. One thing to quickly note, if the recruiter made promises about bonuses, a free car, whatever, and that is not in the form, congrats buddy, you just sold your ass to the military's bottomless pit of a soul for eight years. Hope you're ready for PT.

Contrary to popular belief, you can't enlist for just 4 years. The minimum obligation for non-prior service enlistments is eight years, and the military is going to get its use from you. Though you may only spend four years on active duty, you will spend the remainder of your obligation in the inactive reserves for the other four years.

In general, the most common enlistment options follow four, five, and six year active duties with the respective remainder in the inactive reserves. The Air Force only offers four and six year options. Unlike other jobs one cannot quit the military; in most cases, once you're in, you're in, and only extraordinary circumstances are going to lead to you leaving prior to completion of your enlistment obligation.

When one's obligations have finally come to an end, they are officially discharged from the military. There are a slew of different cases where one may be discharged from the military.
  • Honorable Discharge - The most common military discharge, it indicates the serviceman performed his or her duties well, faithfully executed the overarching mission, and was an asset to the military.
  • General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions - This type of discharge denotes that whilst the serviceman performed well in some areas, others were mired by misconduct or failure, resulting in such a discharge. Not as bad as a DD, it can still lead to some problems with employment and potentially hinder future military service.
  • Other Than Honorable Discharge - The most severe of discharges that doesn't require a court martial. Reasons vary on the severity of offenses, how the particularly branch traditionally handles said issues, and other possible variables. This will most likely bar all future military service.
  • Bad Conduct Discharge - Come from the result of a court martial and can be followed up with prison time depending on the severity and nature of the conduct. This is a barrier to future military service as well as a number of military benefits.
  • Dishonorable Discharge - The most punitive of all military discharges and is the result of a successful court martial. Desertion, murder, fraud, and other crimes performed in uniform can result in a tribunal and court martial leading to a DD. No military benefits or future military service is possible under said discharge.
  • Entry-Level Discharge - A recruit that cannot complete Basic, adapt to the military environment, or is unwilling to complete training is given an Entry-Level Discharge. These are not considered good or bad, with the recruit not eligible for veteran status and not eligible for military benefits.
  • Medical Discharge - Given to service members who become too sick or injured to the point where they cannot fulfill their military duties. The process may be lengthy Those who receive a medical discharge are allowed to apply to Veteran's Affairs for service connected medical issues.
  • Separation for Convenience of the Government - A rare discharge, this discharge comes about when a situation that requires a separation of a new recruit or military member "for the convenience of the government" and is done at the discretion of the branch service involved.

2 - What You SHOULD Know

2.1 - Bootcamp and Schools

Signing a paper and enlisting in your branch of choice is easy. Now comes the hard part. Once you've enlisted and taken your Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) testing, you will be assigned to your branch's respective boot camp and basic training (generally the base closest to you at time of enlistment). The duration of this training period ranges from 7 weeks (Navy) to 12 weeks (Marines). It is here where recruits will undergo physical training, learn drill and ceremony, conduct troop movements and weapons training, and go through live fire field training exercises amongst a variety of other soldier building exercises. I recommend going to /r/MilitaryStories and reading some bootcamp stories to get an idea of some of the things that went on. Feel free to incorporate some of them even. It'll make things amusing.
  • Army Basic Combat Training - 10 Weeks - Locations: Fort Benning, GA, Fort Jackson, SC, Fort Leonard Wood, MO, Fort Sill, OK.
  • Marine Corps Recruit Training - 12 Weeks - Locations: Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA.
  • Navy Boot Camp - 7 to 9 Weeks - Location: Great Lakes Recruit Training Depot, IL.
  • Air Force Basic Military Training - 8.5 Weeks - Location: Lackland Air Force Base, TX.
  • Coast Guard Recruit Training - 8 Weeks - Location: Cape May Coast Guard Training Center, NJ.
In contrast, officers go straight to each branch's respective officer training schools. The only exception to this is the US Army, where recruits intending on going into officer training MUST first enlist and pass Basic Combat Training. Potential officers are required to be at least 19 and have earned a college degree from a 4-year institution. At Officer Training, alongside physical and weapons training, officer candidates go through additional academic and leadership training, instilling a respect for the chosen branch and the ability to lead men and women. Upon completion, servicemen are commissioned as O-1 with their respective branch's rank.
  • US Army Officer Candidate School- 12 Weeks - Fort Benning, GA.
    • Upon completion and commission as 2LT, graduates attend the rest of their Basic Officer Leadership courses.

  • USMC Officer Candidates School- 10 Weeks - Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA.
    • Upon graduation, all newly commissioned Marine 2ndLT go to The Basic School (TBS) before training for their MOS.

  • US Navy Officer Candidate School- 12 Weeks - Naval Station Newport, RI.
    • Upon completion, candidates are commissioned as Ensigns and become eligible for orders to fleet or further training.

  • USAF Officer Training School- Three Courses Offered - Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.
    • Basic Officer Training (BOT) - 9 Weeks - Designed for those seeking commission in USAF. Upon completion, commissioned as 2d LT
    • Commissioned Officer Training (COT) - 5 Weeks - Introduction to the USAF for those directly commissioned in the USAF, mostly chaplains, doctors, and lawyers.
    • Academy of Military Science (AMS) - 6 Weeks - Covers same info as BOT and COT but provides information on Air National Guard. Upon completion, candidates receive the oath of office alongside state and federal commissions as 2d LTs.

  • Coast Guard Officer Candidate School- 17 Weeks - U.S. Coast Guard Academy, CN.
    • Upon completion, candidates are commissioned as Ensigns and can report to Coast Guard cutters, sectors, or flight training.
Based on your character's MOS, there are a variety of additional schools and training programs that your character would attend and complete to achieve their specific specialty status. Below is are several lists that may help lead to further information that can flesh out your character's background. Note that these lists are not comprehensive; for example, the Navy list makes no mention of the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training Challenge. This is merely a jumping off point to explore further.

2.2 - Operating a Firearm, Military Style

Operating a firearm should be easy, right? Just point and shoot at your target until you're the only one left. Unfortunately life's never so simple, and if there's one thing the military emphasizes no matter what, it's safety. The armed forces, particularly the Army have a knack for making things as idiot proof as possible, so as to avoid costly incidents that may hinder its operations, which leads to some amusing ironies (look up PT Belt Memes).

At Basic, new recruits will undergo three training phases in learning how to operate and accurately fire with firearms. Phase 1 goes over the basics of firearms safety and training on how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the weapon. One will learn how to safely load and unload magazines and weaponry, correcting malfunctions, and more. Moreover, soldiers practice and develop an understanding for the four fundamentals of marksmanship:
  • Steady Position - Learn to properly grip and handle the weapon in firing and non-firing stances, as well as support the weapon and relax one's muscles.
  • Eye Focus - Learn the fundamentals of aiming, including sight alignment and proper eye focus, as well as establishing and maintaining sight picture
  • Breath Control - Knowing and practicing control of one's breathing. One should fire after exhaling, when the body is the most steady. Breathing will cause minor convulsions and movements whilst firing, harming accuracy.
  • Trigger Squeeze - Practicing squeezing the trigger instead of directly pulling the trigger. Pulling on the trigger uses far more force and will in turn lead to wobbling and the weapon shifting about, harming accuracy.
The military places heavy emphasis on firearms safety; toying with one's weapon can easily lead to injury or worse if one is not careful and the military punishes misbehavior heavily. In lieu of the rules of gun safety, the most basic acronym for gun safety is THINK:
  • Treat every weapon as if it's loaded, even if you know it isn't.
  • Handle every weapon with care, knowing the direction the muzzle is pointing.
  • Identify the target before you fire, as well as what lies behind the target.
  • Never point the muzzle at anything you don't intend to destroy.
  • Keep the weapon on safe and finger off the trigger until you intend to shoot.
Phase 2 is when new recruits will first practice live firing their weapons. Following changes in 2010, recruits were no longer required to wear full combat gear whilst practicing firing until after basic training, so keep in mind how this may effect your character's training in various lores. During phase two, recruits spend six hours learning how to group shots and eight hours zeroing sights to hit the targets. This is followed by six hours hours of feedback and advice on performance and improving one's marksmanship.

Here's a link to an early 2000s slideshow made for the Marines on proper pistol handling, maneuvering and safety. This should give some visual aid to what your character should know in terms of firearms safety. Even if there are some fuck ups that negligently discharge their weapon, they're very few in number because of how hard the military drills safety. I also recommend looking up operation of the M16/M4 online.

During Phase 3, the qualification course is completed by passing the minimum standards, shooting targets from the supported prone, unsupported prone, and kneeling position.

Standard small arms in the US military's arsenal. These are the basic arms that you'd be expected to know at a glance. Keep in mind the adoption date. If the lore is set prior to that, then it hasn't been chosen by the military at that point. Keep in mind that it takes time for the military to transition to newly adopted firearm; the US Army still had units using the M1911 into the 90s, for example, and despite adopting the M17 in 2017, a large number of military units, particularly reserve and National Guard units still make use of the M9. Research at your own discretion.
  • Handguns
    • M9 - Beretta semi-automatic pistol. - Adopted in 1985, chambered in 9x19 Parabellum - uses 15 round box magazines.
    • M11 - Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol. - Adopted in 1992, chambered in 9x19 Parabellum - uses 13 round box magazines. More compact and intended for use with a small number of units in the Army, Air Force, and Navy.
    • M17 - Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol. - Adopted in 2017, chambered in 9x19 Parabellum - uses 17 or 21 round box magazines. More modular, capable of mounting a backup optic, light, suppressor for various operations.
    • M18 - Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol. - Adopted in 2018, chambered in 9x19 Parabellum - uses 17 or 21 round box magazines. The same as the M17 but in a smaller, more compact package.
  • Assault Rifles
    • M16A2 - Colt semi/burst fire assault rifle. - Adopted in 1986, chambered in 5.56x45 NATO - uses 30 round box magazines. Improved upon the M16A1 with a new adjustable rear sight, heavier barrel, improved handguard, pistol grip, and butt stock.
    • M16A4 - Colt semi/burst fire assault rifle. - Adopted in 1997, chambered in 5.56x45 NATO - uses 30 round box magazines. Improved upon the M16A2 with a picatinny rail on the upper receiver and handguard for mounting optics and other devices.
    • M4A1 Carbine - (Various Manufacturers) semi/full auto fire carbine. - Adopted in 1994, chambered in 5.56x45 NATO - uses 30 round box magazines. Carbine with telescoping stock capable of taking a variety of customization add ons and features. Equipped with an ambidextrous fire control and a heavier barrel that provides a sustained rate of fire.
    • M27 IAR - HK semi/full auto fire assault rifle - Adopted in 2010 in limited numbers, began replacing M16/M4 in 2018. USED EXCLUSIVELY BY USMC. Chambered in 5.56x45 NATO - Uses 30 round box magazines. Intended as an automatic rifle, the IAR has increased ability to put out sustained fire without stoppage, overheating, and accuracy loss in comparison to the M4/M4A1
  • Machine Guns
    • M249 SAW - FN Herstal semi/full auto fire machine gun. - Adopted in 1984, chambered in 5.56x45 NATO - Uses a 200 round linked belt or 30 round box magazines. The squad automatic weapon is generally used to provide suppression fire to enemy positions. It has a collapsible buttstock that allows for firing in extended and collapsed positions and a shorter barrel for maneuvering in close-quarter combat.
    • M240 - FN Herstal semi/full auto fire machine gun. - Adopted in 1977, chambered in 7.62x51 NATO - Uses a 200 round linked belt. Reconfigured for ground applications with buttstock, bipod, iron sights, and forward rail assemblies.
    • M2HB - Browning full-auto fire machine gun. - Adopted in 1933, chambered in .50 BMG - Belt Fed, available either mounted on vehicles or on a tripod. Too heavy to carry on one's own.
  • DMR/Sniper Rifles
    • M24 SWS - Remington bolt action sniper rifle - Adopted in 1988, chambered in 7.62x51 NATO - 5 round internal magazine or 5 round detachable box magazine. Mounted with day optic with adjustable magnification, metallic iron sights, deployment kit, cleaning kit, and an optional bipod.
    • M110 SASS - Knight's Armament Company Semi-Automatic DMR/Sniper Rifle - Adopted in 2007, chambered in 7.62x51 NATO - Uses 10 or 20 round detachable box magazines. It's an anti-personnel and light materiel weapon and is highly modular, including suppressor mounting capabilities.
    • M110A1 CSASS - HK Semi-Automatic DMR/Sniper Rifle - Adopted in 2016, chambered in 7.62x51 NATO - Uses 10 or 20 round detachable box magazines. Replacing the M110 SASS, it is intended to fulfill the same role, being lighter and capable of mounting new optics and accessories.
    • M107 - Barrett Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle - Adopted in 2002, chambered in .50 BMG - Uses 5 or 10 round detachable box magazines. Capable of delivering accurate fire out to 2000 meters. Highly modular, and capable of use in anti-personnel, anti-materiel, counter-sniping and numerous other operations.
  • Shotguns
    • M37 - Ithaca Pump-Action Shotgun - Adopted in the 1942, chambered in 12ga - Uses a 5 round tube magazine. Reliable and available in several versions. Used primarily in military police work and with breaching teams.
    • M1014 - Benelli Semi-Automatic Shotgun - Adopted in 1998, chambered in 12ga - Uses a 7 round tube magazine, +1 in the chamber. Using a new gas system, the M1014 is capable of high reliability in a semi auto shotgun. It's highly modular, with adjustable ghost ring sights or mounting of optics alongside an adjustable stock.

2.3 Unit Size and Composition

Unit size and composition is pretty self explanatory. This is going to be a quick overview of typical units, their size, commanders, and so on. Since armor, aircraft, and ships do not exist in Project Zomboid, I will not cover what those types of units look like, but you should take a quick look into that hierarchy if you're say, a pilot.

  • Fireteam- Consists of four members lead by a Team Leader (TL), usually sergeant (E-5) or corporal (E-4). The general fireteam is made up of:
    • Team Leader (TL) - Provides tactical leadership and uses the GPS and Radio. Equipped with M16/M4
    • Rifleman (R) - Standard infantryman with M16/M4
    • Grenadier Rifleman (GR) - Standard infantryman equipped with an M16/M4 with an M203 or M320 Grenade Launcher.
    • Automatic Rifleman (AR) - Provides overwatch and suppressive fire. Equipped with an M249 LMG.
    • The USMC is similar in size; difference include the TL having the grenade launcher, and the AR equipped with an M27 IAR and serving as second in command. Instead of a GR, the fourth soldier is an Assistant Automatic Rifleman and provides spotting support, carries extra ammunition, and offers close protection.
  • Squads
    • Army - Organized into two fireteams under one squad leader (SL) for a total of 9 men. SL is a staff sergeant (E-6)
    • USMC - Rifleman squad organized into three fireteams of four Marines and an SL for a total of 13 men. SL is a sergeant (E-5) or a corporal (E-4)
  • Platoon
    • Army - Composed of 42 soldiers. Consist of three rifle squads, one weapon squad, and a six man HQ
      • HQ Consists of Platoon Leader (PL) a 2nd lieutenant (O-1), Platoon Sergeant (PSG), a radio operator (RTO), a forward observer (FO), the FO's RTO, and the platoon medic.
    • USMC - Rifle platoon composed of 43 Marines. Consist of three rifle squads, though in a defence will be augented with a two man mortar team and reinforced by a machine gun squad or assault weapons squad.
      • HQ consists of Platoon Commander, usually a 2nd lieutenant (O-1), a Platoon Sergeant (PSG) a staff sergeant (E-6), a Platoon Guide, a sergeant (E-5), and a messenger (E-2 or E-3)
  • Company
    • Army - Infantry company is composed of at most 200 soldiers. Consists of three rifle platoons and a heavy weapons platoon.
      • Usually commanded by a Captain (O-3) and accompanied by support staff, such as an Executive Officer (XO), first sergeant, and so on.
    • USMC - Rifle Company is composed of 243 Marines. Consists of three Rifle Platoons, a Weapons Platoon, and can be augmented with other attachments based on the operation.
      • Company HQ is usually commanded by a Captain (O-3) and consists of an Executive Officer (XO, O-2), a First Sergeant (E-8), a Gunnery Sergeant (E-7), Property NCO (E-5) and a Messenger/Driver (E-1 - E-3)
    • Called a battery in artillery units and a troop in cavalry units.
  • Battalion
    • Army - A battalion is comprised of typically 500 - 600 but a maximum of 1000 soldiers. Consists of HQ and two to six companies.
      • HQ consists of a Battalion Commander (O-5), Executive Officer (O-4), Command Sergeant Major, and further staff.
    • USMC - A battalion is usually comprised of 729 Marines. Typically consists of three companies and a weapons company.
      • HQ Consists of a commanding officer (O-5), XO (O-4), Sergeant Major, and Executive Staff.
      • Infantry Battalions are organized into Battalion Landing Teams (BLT) as the ground combat elements of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). and are typically supported by artillery battery and a platoon each of tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, light armored reconnaissance vehicles, reconnaissance marines, and combat engineers.
  • Regiment
    • Army - Army regiments were disbanded in 1957. By 2015, the only unit still organized as a regiment was the 75th Ranger Regiment.
    • USMC - An infantry regiment is usually comprised of 2,187 Marines. It typically consists of a regimental Headquarters and Service Company (H&S Co) and three rifle battalions.
      • HQ is lead by a Colonel (O-6)
  • Brigade
    • Army - In 2013, the Army moved from Brigades to Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), wherein each brigade contains both combat elements and their support units. Following this reform, the number each is comprised of between 4,400 and 4,700 personnel.
      • Commanded by a colonel (O-6)
    • USMC - Designated Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs) and made up of between 3,000 and 4,000 soldiers. They consist of three regimental sized units and a command element.
      • Commanded by a Brigadier General (O-7)
  • Division
    • Army - An Army division is usually comprised of 17,000 to 21,000 soldiers, but can be augmented with support units, boosting its size to 35 - 40,000 soldiers. They are commanded by a major general (O-8)
    • USMC - A Marine division is usually comprised of 6,561 Marines. The USMC has three active divisions and one reserve divisions, each consisting of one HQ Battalion, two or three infantry regiments, an artillery regiment, and a recon battalion. They are commanded by a major general (O-8)
      • All Marine Divisions except 3rd MARDIV have an assault amphibian battalion, a tank battalion, a light armored recon battalion, and a combat engineer battalion. 3rd MARDIV instead has a combat assault battalion.
  • Corps
    • Army - The US Army uses administrative corps, known as Army Branches, to group personnel of common function. There are over 20 corps with a variety of functions, ranging from the Chaplain Corps to the Military Police Corps. They typically consist of 20,000 to 45,000 soldiers and are commanded by a lieutenant general (O-9)
      • Army Corps can be reactivated and deactivated as needed. As of 2020, there are only four active Operational Theater Corps: I Corps, II Corps, V Corps, and XVIII Airborne Corps
    • USMC - The US Marine Corps is comprised of all USMC combat forces, totaling about 27,000 Marines. It is led by the Commandant of the USMC, a four year position appointed by the president from the USMC's Generals.
      • Carl E Mundy Jr - 1991 to 1995
      • Charles C. Krulak - 1995 to 1999
      • James L. Jones - 1999 to 2003
      • Michael W. Hagee - 2003 to 2006
      • James T. Conway - 2006 to 2010
      • James F. Amos - 2010 to 2014
      • Joseph Dunford - 2014 to 2015
      • Robert Neller - 2015 to 2019
      • David H. Berger - 2019 to Present
  • Field Army
    • The largest unit in the Army, there are currently seven field armies in existence and are divided based upon their locations and where they are headquartered. They're commanded by Lieutenant Generals (O-9) or Generals (O-10)
      • First Army, US Army Forces Command - Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Illinois, United States.
      • United States Army Central (Third Army/ARCENT) - Shaw AFB, Sumter, South Carolina
      • United States Army North (Fifth Army/ARNORTH) - Fort Sam Houston, Texas
      • United States Army South (Sixth Army) - Fort Sam Houston, Texas
      • United States Army Europe (Seventh Army) - Wiesbaden, Germany
      • United States Army Korea (Eighth Army) - US Army Garrison Humphreys, Pyeongtaek, South Korea
      • United States Army Africa (Ninth Army) - Caserma Carlo Ederle, Italy

2.4 - Your Unit and Deployments

If you've seen any Stolen Valor clips, you know one of the key things that any servicemen will know by heart is which unit he or she served with, whether they have deployed, and where. Though one may not know or remember every village they passed through, locations of bases, major cities nearby, battles, and major operations will no doubt be ingrained by the time personnel leave the military. Make sure to do some research and have a small cheat sheet typed for yourself.

As denoted in the MOS Section, there are hundreds of potential specialties servicemen are assigned. Some can be embedded with near any type of unit; a motor transport operator (88M) can be assigned to a variety of different units.

This timeline serves as a good overview of major US military operations throughout the nation's history and a great jumping off point for digging deeper into where your character and his or her unit may have served. This of course assumes that your character would have been deployed in the first place. Always make sure to look at the size of the operation. If your character wasn't a member of the 75th Rangers or Delta Force, it is very unlikely that they were there for the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu.

Something important to note about deployments: the vast majority of military personnel never see combat, and most deployments are not to countries actively at war. "1% of the population of the US will serve in the military. 1% of the military is combat arms. 10% of combat arms will ever see combat." Know that your character doesn't have to see combat on their deployment to be interesting. Perhaps think about what they may do or learn during their deployment over actually fighting. That can help lead to a richer and more interesting roleplaying experience for both yourself and other players interacting with your character.

The most common nations US Servicemen are deployed to (as of the end of 2019) are as follows:
  • Americas
    • Contiguous United States - 1,120,661 in total
    • Alaska - 19,510 in total
    • Cuba - 808 in total
  • East Asia/Southeast Asia/Pacific
    • Japan - 57,094 in total
    • Hawaii - 42,386 in total
    • South Korea - 26,643 in total
  • Europe
    • Germany - 34,668 in total
    • Italy - 12,486 in total
    • United Kingdom - 9,299 in total
  • Middle East (approximate)
    • Afghanistan - 14,000
    • Qatar - 13,000
    • Kuwait - 13,000
    • Bahrain - 7,000
    • Iraq - 6,000

2.5 - Radio Chatter and NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Properly speaking on a military frequency is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of military, whether it be callsigns or how one speaks on the radio. This is due in part largely from Hollywood misconceptions and such. Alongside this, you absolutely must know the NATO Phonetic Alphabet (or at least have a tab of it on hand).

Before going forward, lets talk about callsigns. Unless you're an Air Force pilot, you don't really get to decide on whatever callsign you want. Instead, the callsign applies to one's unit, starting from the platoon level.
Michael Peacock does a good job explaining it HERE.

Unit call signs don't follow a particular scheme overall and generally change with each operation. Generally the only individuals that will receive a specific tactical callsign for themselves are unit commanders, alongside a name that denotes that position, such as 'Godfather' or 'Overlord'.
Some names your character's unit could use include as a tactical callsign:
Aries, Baker, Checkmate, Dingo, Eerie, Foxhound, Grendel, Hilltop, Indigo, Jackson, and so on.

Callsigns also apply to certain members of the company or platoon. For example, the company commander's callsign would be "Aries Actual". Contacting just "Aries" would patch you through to his RTO. "Aries 1 Actual" would be first platoon leader, "Aries 2 Actual" would be second platoon's leader and so on.

One of the main rules of thumb when talking on the radio is "Hey you, this is me". When you're calling someone on comms, you first announce the call sign of the person you're calling and then your own call sign so they know who to respond to.
Ex. "Warthog 2-1, this is Warthog 2-2, over..." (Warthog 2-2 is calling for Warthog 2-1)
"Warthog 2-2, this is Warthog 2-1, over..." (Warthog 2-1 responds, Warthog 2-2 knows that he is listening an can send his/her transmission.)

This is how the beginning of every official conversation will start in the military. Next comes the transmission of the message. Some things to keep in mind:
  • NEVER say another soldier's name or rank, ALWAYS use their callsign. It keeps things organized, especially in the chaos that can come in the theatre of operations.
  • NEVER say repeat. If you need someone to repeat their last message, you will say something like "say again last transmission". Reason for this being if you are calling a fire order (airstrike/artillery strike) and you ask the FO to "repeat that", he or she may believe you want to repeat the fire mission.
  • When sending a long transmission, occasionally say BREAK, releasing the radio for a few seconds before pressing it again and continuing the transmission. This is so someone trying to send important info can send it up and so you aren't blocking the frequency.
  • NOBODY says "Over and out". It is a Hollywood fabrication.
  • Only the person who began the transmission can call "Out".
  • At the end of a transmission, there are multiple things that you can say to cue the person you're talking to on what comes next:
    • Over - This means you await the other person's reply.
    • Prepare to copy - Telling the other person to get ready to copy down information.
    • How copy? - Asking the other person to let you know if they got the full message. If you receive a 'how copy', you will repeat the transmission back to them.
    • Good Copy - After you 'how copy' someone and they repeat the message back to you, you respond a 'good copy' if they got it correct. If the information doesn't need to be recorded and can be easily understood/memorized, you can just respond with 'good copy'.
    • Break - This means you are taking three second break from comms to listen if anyone else is trying to say something. Unless it is VERY IMPORTANT, everyone else will wait for that person to come back up on the net and finish transmission.
    • BREAK BREAK BREAK - Only done to cut off a transmission because of an emergency
    • Out - This means you are done speaking with that person, as well as lets others know the freq is free.
These are some general basics of radio communications. Your character may out of habit talk like this with normal civilian characters, even months into the apocalypse. It may be jarring for those characters, but I think it can add to roleplay. Being authentic helps. I'll drop some radio chatter videos below. More can be found online. I also recommend listening to the chatter in Generation Kill. Call of Duty MW and Battlefield games also have surprisingly accurate radio chatter.

Finally, be aware of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. It is used ubiquitously throughout the military, replacing letters with set words to help more clearly spell out words, acronyms, and codes over the radio. A lot of slang is akso based on it, such as "tango yankee" (Thank you), "Oscar Mike" (On the move) or "Alpha Mike Foxtrot" (Adios, motherfucker). It can be found here.

2.6 - Military Time

The military operates on a unique time system. Military Time is a clean, clear method of expressing time. Instead of a 12 hour clock, it operates on a 24 hour clock that begins at midnight at 0000 hours to 11:00 being 2300. Minutes and seconds operate the same as with normal time. For instance, 1:32 PM would be 1332 hours, or 8:27 AM would be 0827 hours.
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Sep 11, 2019
3 - Enlisted Life
3.1 "Why We Serve" and How You Got Stuck Here

If someone asked you why people enlist in the military, what's an answer that you may give? Patriotism? Serving one's nation? Though those may be the reasons some people enlist, it doesn't account for everyone. Everyone has institutional and occupational reasons for joining the military, and they can overlap. Keep this in mind when constructing your military character's background.
Historically, the biggest reason people enter the military is a preconceived notion of adventure or travelling to a far off land. These can be compounded by outside reasons, ranging from a times of war and calls to serve (a la Pearl Harbor/Post 9/11). Let's face it, if you're living in small town Iowa or Kansas or wherever, your chances of seeing much of the world are fairly limited. The military offers an opportunity to "get out of Dodge" and at the very least see other parts of the United States if not the world.

Benefits also make up a significant motivator for people to join the military. With health care, tuition assistance, and post-service support such as the GI Bill and the VA Home Loan Program. These benefits offer to save the individual potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly in health care and college tuition via the GI Bill, so that makes complete sense.

Other major aspects include the stability and pay that a job with the military can provide or getting out of a negative living environment (like an abusive household, or a particularly bad neighborhood). The above graph is a good summary of most reasons that people enter the military, but it is not the end all be all. People can join for numerous other reasons that may not be obvious. Perhaps your character is a foreigner that desires American citizenship. Perhaps you want to shoot a gun, kill some enemies of the state. Or perhaps... you got suckered in like everyone else by those amazing Marine ads. Can I get a hoorah?
you poor, poor soul.

3.2 Disciplining the Undisciplined

Throughout your whole time in the military, you will be disciplined, regardless of your rank. There is always a bigger fish, and this is especially the case for enlisted, particularly those in E-1 thru E-4. However, it's important to understand that it varies from one rank to the next. As a soldier gains more experience and rises the ranks they will come to understand who they can act normal around, who they must always follow orders from, and who they can 'blow off'. Please note that AT NO TIME does a serviceman blatantly disrespect or say no to a higher ranked persons unless they just don't give two shits anymore and want to be punished. This ain't the Hurt Locker, a Sergeant isn't going to punch a Sergeant First Class.

This is how common discipline is amongst the ranks generally. We're going off Army/Marines.
  • E-1, E-2 Private - These are brand new soldiers that are usually less than a year out of basic training. When with higher ranks they are quiet and do as they are told. They do not joke around with NCO's or cause trouble for fear of getting dumped with more work.
  • E-3 Private First Class - By this point, these soldiers have been in for little more than a year and start to catch onto military life and the DOs and DON'Ts. They're more vocal now and will start to get in trouble for minor issues, speaking up with and sometimes against E-4s. Still do not attempt to antagonize NCOs.
  • E-4 Corporal/Specialist -They don't call it the "E-4 Mafia" for nothing. In the service for a few years, these guys are the troublemakers of the military services and have been since the Vietnam War. They can be separated into two groups; those who become NCOs and those who don't. They WILL find ways to skip out on work and offload it on some bumfuck outta luck privates.
    • They will complain about the mission/work and say it doesn't make sense. They'll get yelled at and smoked by NCOs and in turn antagonize E-5s and the occasionally E-6. However anyone higher is no game. They're not stupid, they know when to keep hush.
  • E-5 Sergeant - Generally "buck" sergeants, they will start off the strictest, yell the most, and smoke soldiers for acting out. They're no longer friends with Privates and Corporals. After enough experience, most of them will mellow out a bit, but sergeants can also be classified into two classes: Those that care about the men under their command and those that suck their superior's dicks for a promotion. Figuratively speaking. Usually.
  • E-6 - E-10 Staff Sergeant to Sergeant Major - These are older and more seasoned NCOs. They are the backbone of the military and are mostly all work and no play. These are the guys that serve as assistants to commissioned officers. Some are more mellow, others are hardasses (See: Sergeant Major Sixta in Generation Kill). If they see something that needs fixing, they'll usually pass it along to a lower sergeant, though some are particularly prone to micromanagement.
    • Though they're technically outranked by newly minted lieutenants, they have been in the military for years and are a wealth of information and experience. Lieutenants that disagree and argue too often with sergeants will probably find themselves getting smoked by a superior officer, as these sergeants often have connections with higher ranking officers.
Keep this information in mind when playing around multiple active duty military characters, especially at the start of the outbreak when the military is still a standing force. Remember that your characters do not know that the military is probably not coming to their aid. They'll worry about the consequences of their actions when they link back up with command/HQ.

3.3 A Day in the Life

Though the day to day life of a serviceman will vary widely based on branch, specific unit and whether or not they're on an operation or not, there are some things that can be generally inferred, particularly if they're not taking part in a mission or operation.
  • On Base (Non Infantry MOS)
    • On base, you will stay at a barracks and wake up at the crack of dawn, usually between 0500 or 0600 and go partake in some PT/Physical Training.
    • Shit, shower, shave, and head to dining hall for breakfast
    • Work your assigned job until 1100/1200 and take for lunch. The scheduled amount of time will vary on the mood of the NCO/CO and the training schedule. Usually you'll get 2 hours.
    • After lunch you resume work until 1630/1700 where you enter company formation before let go. This typically lasts a few minutes Depending on the shenanigans and fuck-ups of some, this may last to 2100.
    • Return to barracks and go to sleep.
    • Weekends are generally off for servicemen.
  • On Base (Infantry/Cavalry/Recon MOS) (Range Day)
    • At 0530, Wake up and put on PT uniform.
    • At 0545, Be at the company area and check in with TL. First call when the entire company assembles is at 0630. During this time, you can fill out administrative paperwork.
    • At 0630, Accountability, Company has attendance and gives out announcements. Company is released for PT and everyone does PT at either the platoon level or the squad level.
    • Between 0645 to 0900, PT. Conduct everything from calisthenics to weight training, swimming to running and marching. Fridays are generally set aside for rucking. Running is important, so usually quick calisthenics, stretch, and run. This is capped off with more calisthenics and stretching.
    • At 0930, First Call. Thirty minutes to oneself. Time to shower, tidy room, grab breakfast, change into uniform, snag equipment for that day's training, and return to company area.
    • At 0945, Weapons Draw. Line up at the armory to draw weapons. You will have weapons card that lists all items you're authorized to have.
    • At 1000, Move to Range.
    • Between 1015 to 1430, Training. Meet with Supply Sergeant for ammunition. Load ammunition whilst Range Safety Officer (RSO) gives a safety brief.
    • At 1430, Police Call and Exfil to Company Area. Pick up brass, clean up the range, pass it to supply before heading back.
    • At 1445, Weapons Turn in and Dismissal. Field strip and clean weapons before turning them back over to the armory. If nothing else, you will be dismissed and sent to the gym for work out . Otherwise, dismissed for the day.
    • Between 1500 to 0530, Free Time. You can do as you please from here on out. Average things include hitting the gym, grabbing dinner, hanging at the library, playing video games, going through the internet. Make sure to get sleep. You'll need it.

3.4 Enlisted Sense of Humor

This section may piss some people off. You've been warned.

To be blunt, the military will find humor in anything, from giving a piece of chocolate to a kid to forced sodomy. When you take folks straight out of high school and put them into a situation like war, you learn to find the humor in anything. Inevitably, some of it gets dark, twisted, and takes upon an offensive nature that makes most civilians grimace.

Any occupation with a high potential for danger naturally induce heavy stress and anxiety. Whether it be the military, law enforcement, paramedics or more, dark humor is a common source of countering stress. "Embrace the suck", some may say. Make the best of it.

Some jokes are passive and wry humor. Jokes over small, inane things that happen along the day. Everyone likes to mock the neon PT belt or razz a fellow soldier or Marine over some stupid anecdote from last week, that's nothing harmful.

Humor is of course, subjective. Humor is also a good coping mechanism. And when you face the potentiality of dying, some things that are taboo in civilian life fade away into a grey area. If you dwell on such things too long, you'll go crazy. Maybe you see one of your bros take a bullet through the neck, blood gushing and their eyes full of shock and fear that only says "I'm dying...I'm dying, and I'm not ready."

There's no way to really process these feelings. You imagine yourself in his position, bleeding out, getting thrown up on the bird, only for it all to fade into nothingness. Perhaps there's an emotional disconnect. How do you deal? You laugh. You laugh at dirty, offensive jokes that would have made you cringe prior. You've changed, and you can't go back..not while you're in the sandbox at least.

The guy that was in here before you cracked these jokes. Your friends are cracking similar jokes. And slowly, you start cracking them too. It eases the tension and helps destress. You joke about watching some Haji get wasted by a drone. You jest about killing yourself, or quip about fragging your CO that's been hammering your ass all week. You toss racial slurs here and there, it's all a good laugh. Numerous jokes about plenty of taboo matters. It helps you cope. It helps you stay sane.

You laugh because you need to. These jokes are the only thing that can induce some feeling, a defense mechanism. You don't really mean offense. Because if you don't laugh. If you don't cope, you'll break.

This goes without saying, but not all servicemen partake in this kind of humor, and you don't have to make your military character partake in it either. It's less common in servicemen that aren't deployed to hot combat zones, naturally, but that doesn't guarantee servicemen that aren't deployed to these zones won't adopt this morbid sense of humor (My army friend openly refers to Jewish people as "kikes" and Asians as "chinks" or "gooks", for instance, and he's stationed in Maryland. He isn't even infantry, he works as an armorer.)

Considering in this roleplay your military character will get caught up in a river of death and reanimated zombies, think about how that will affect their psyche and the methods they will use to cope. Humor is one of the easiest and most common ways of dealing with the stresses of such a situation. Be mindful of the server rules not to take things too far. On the flip side, other players should know that even if the CHARACTER ICly says some of these things, it is not being done to offend others OOCly.

3.5 Being Wounded

Getting wounded sucks, end of story.

Getting severely wounded sucks even more.

Overall, the military categorizes injuries into two groups: Combat Wounds and Non Battle Injuries (NBIs). Of 30,000 injuries between 2003 and 2014, a third of those were the result of NBIs (with 10% of those being fatal). NBIs can range from negligent discharges outside of a base to improper ordnance use leading to an explosion, to lighter, more basic injuries that may result from every day life as a serviceman.

In contrast, combat injuries are sustained, get this, in combat. They can be anything, from bullet wounds, fragmentation wounds, chemical attacks and so on, basically any injury that is sustained while in a combat zone.

There's no real way to understand what a gun shot feels like without having gone through it. That being said, one can base their responses on what those that have been shot have described it as. Important things to consider are:
  • The caliber your character is hit with
    • Being hit by .22LR is generally not going to be as lethal or fatal as being hit by 7.62x51 or .50BMG. You can be killed by a single round of .22, naturally, but you're far more likely to survive.
    • I'm not going to go into ballistic science and how the wounds .223/5.56 produces may be different than another caliber, but general rule of thumb is that the larger the round, the more damage it does to the body, and the more likely you are to be incapacitated and/or killed.
  • The level of adrenaline running through your body
    • Adrenaline's the magic drug, and it's going to change how you respond to pain. Many combat veterans will say that a firefight is the biggest adrenaline high one can get, and there are cases where those pumped with it will be able to take shots without becoming incapacitated right away and keep on fighting.
      • The pain may be negligible or you may not even feel it. But once that adrenaline fades, you're really going to feel it.
  • Whether your character is wearing ballistic body armor
    • If you're wearing body armor and get shot (and the round doesn't go through), you're almost never just tanking that round and continuing onward. As someone that has been shot by just a round of 9mm whilst wearing body armor, all of that kinetic energy is stopping right there and dispersing it across the vest. This means you're basically transforming a gunshot wound into a blunt trauma wound. The wind will be knocked out of you, you will probably be knocked onto your ass, and you are going to feel like you've been slammed with a baseball bat, full force, where you were hit. (And that was just 9mm).
      • Note that I didn't have any adrenaline pumping through me haha.
    • Whereas without body armor, the round is far more gradually slowing down to a stop or going straight through (which allows the kinetic energy to dissipate), which means you may potentially not go through as much initial pain.
    • Body armor is there to save your life. You will probably be incapacitated for at least a few minutes after taking a hit. But you will be alive.
    • A Guide to NIJ Ballistic Body Armor Classes
      • NOTE that Class III Body armor will generally NOT stop 5.56x45(AR15/M16) or 5.45x39(AK74) at close ranges. It will stop 7.62x51(M14/FAL/G3) or 7.62x39(SKS/AK47/AKM), but because of the velocity of the above rounds, it will not stop these rounds. It is a myth due to the NIJ that's been perpetuated for decades.
      • This visual chart shows modern body armor classes that WILL stop 5.56 or 5.45. Keep this in mind when you're roleplaying ballistic body armor.
  • What's been hit
    • Vital body parts (in the chest usually) or to the head are far more likely to incapacitate or kill a person than a shot to the arm or leg.
    • Artery severage is probably the most dangerous, especially when the man or woman is high on adrenaline, as they may not notice the wound. Massive bleeding.
4 - Officer Life
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Sep 11, 2019
5 - Veterans and Leaving the Military
5.1 - So You Just Got Back Home

No two servicemen return home in the same manner. How a veteran feels when he or she returns to the US depends heavily on the circumstances he or she is returning. Someone coming back to their hometown from Nellis AFB in Nevada will not have as hard a time readjusting to civilian life as someone that spent their deployment in Japan, Korea, or Germany. Generally the hardest will be for those coming back from a war zone, like in Africa or the Middle East. However this is not always the case.

As said before, it varies from one veteran to another. One veteran may come home to their parents or their wife and kids. Others may be returning to a troubled family; thoughts of infidelity, financial problems, substance abuse, and struggles with one's spouse may reign heavy on their mind. Others return home to no friends or loved ones. Each of these are problems that may go through any veteran's minds coming home.

What almost all servicemembers experience, combat or none, is a very, very long period of extended absence from comfort, security, family, and breaks. Marines spend seven months out on deployment. The Army does double, but doesn't patrol as often. That is months with the same people day, after day, after day. There is no change and no break. You work, eat, and live with them. Many of them are your family. You deal with the people you dislike. If your sergeant or CO is a jackass, you can't even escape him or her by going home. Compound this with the war aspect; best case scenario is a constant threat of attack. Car bombs, suicide bombers, mortars, etc. In the worst case, you get stuck in an engagement; you might kill people, you or your friends may get hurt or even die. In any case, it's a slow, monotonous drone for months that sucks.

Stepping off that plane and getting back home can leave you with a variety of emotions. Wonder, joy, guilt, sadness, loneliness, anger...but probably the most joy and elation for the first week or so. You sleep in a real bed, see your family, go to bars with your friends.

However, things may feel weird and bizarre. Things have changed since you deployed, people look at you differently, and your mind is still stuck in combat mode and will take some time to slowly readjust. You can't act as blunt and harsh in America like you could when you were in the Sandbox. Perhaps you're quick to anger, on edge, or stressed.

...Hey look, the bills came in. Welcome home.

5.2 - Readjusting to Civilian Life

One of the hardest initial hurdles for many will be going through combat readjustment, wherein you slowly start getting used to life in the US again. You may be fidgety, keeping your head on a swivel and looking for potential dangers when there aren't any. You may get worried not having a weapon on hand nearby, having been drilled to never leave your equipment behind. It's something that takes time to get used to again, but you'll slowly get back in the swing of things.

Other troubles may arise however; perhaps bills and monetary issues cropped up whilst you were out. Perhaps you're having trouble relating with your spouse. Maybe you're angry at the apathetic nature of Americans, and how everything you and your buddies went through means nothing. Or you're angry by how overpatriotic some people try to sound, without having done their bit in the military. Guilty that you survived whilst others didn't. But you have to move forward, right?

Some veterans land on their feet and come to terms with life, and successfully readjust. Others struggle, but manage to make things work. Some go back for another tour or reenlist. And others still fall apart at the seams, unable to pull themselves back up and reintegrate into civilian life. It varies from person to person, so don't hesitate to do more research and see the options your character may have.

5.3 - Benefits and the VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs is a federal agency that helps provide support, health care, and more to eligible military veterans. They run hundreds of medical centers and clinics located across the US. In addition to medical assistance, they offer non-healthcare benefits including disability compensation, educational assistance, home loans, and life insurance.
  • VA Disability Compensation - Those with a service related disability can qualify for a compensation ranging from $133 to $3,400 a month. However, you must submit paperwork proving you sustained a disability related to your service in the military and be approved.
  • Variety of Free or Low Cost Health Programs
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) - You or a family member can receive up to 36 months of college tuition and fees, housing, and books
  • Montgomery GI Bill - GI Bills that can be accessed whilst still in active duty, albeit you'll receive less benefits overall.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program - Helps transition veteran back into civilian workforce with job training and assistance.
  • VA Mortgage Loan - If qualify, you can buy/build/refinance a home with as little as $0 down good rates, and financing up to $484,350. With no PMI.
  • VA Readjustment Counseling - Available to any veteran or active duty service member who:
    • Served in a combat theatre
    • Experienced military sexual trauma
    • Provided direct medical care or mortuary services
    • Served as a member of a UAV crew that provided direct support in combat ops
    • Is a Vietnam era Veteran who accessed care at a Vet Center prior to 2004.
  • Burial and Memorial Benefits - The VA can provide free headstones, cash allowances, and other assistance with burial preparation.

5.4 - On Depicting PTSD and other Issues

One important thing to start off with is the difference between "Combat readjustment" and "PTSD". THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.

Not all veterans return home wounded. Some interpret any time a former serviceman seems disoriented or 'changed' as suffering PTSD. This is generally not the case. Going into a war zone, soldiers are trained to adjust to combat. They're alert and keep an eye out for danger, they're trained to sleep with their rifle and be ready to fight at a moment's notice. When returning home, they must deal with readjusting to normal civilian life. It may be that they're wary of having their back exposed, or they occasionally panic, thinking they left behind their equipment (a major offense in the military). It could be as simple as forgetting to flush the toilet since in theater, port-a-potties are the most common thing. But combat readjustment is NOT PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a complex issue that varies from one serviceman to another. As stated prior not every soldier suffers from it, even when coming back from a combat zone. Signs of PTSD can include seeing things differently than you did prior, being on constant watch long after returning or being easily startled, struggling with guilt, dwelling on the past and more. It can negatively effect loved ones around you, and can lead to issues like divorce or disassociation.

Getting help for combat related PTSD is incredibly hard because of cultural and structural issues. There's a lack of good counselors and a constant stigma against going in to get help with PTSD. Many fear being considered crazy or a danger to oneself or others. Keeping PTSD treatment confidential is extremely difficult in the military because of how intertwined and tight the community is. Absences are noticed and they must be explained to leadership. Your boss will know that you're seeing a counselor and it can affect your professional standing.

On the other hand, getting help for combat related sexual trauma is nearly impossible. Like with seeking help for PTSD, there is a lack of good counselors, no confidentiality, and there are few means of legal recourse. Sexual harassment and assault victims are more often than not blamed for the crimes committed against them and persecuted for experiencing them. The perp, especially if he's of higher rank merely gets a slap on the wrist or goes unpunished.

The best thing for a veteran suffering PTSD is someone willing to be quiet and listen. He or she will talk if when they want to. Veterans that successfully get through combat readjustment and PTSD all have a strong support system, and having others they can count on and go to, that keep an eye on irregular behavior are important for those suffering from traumatic experiences.

Beside PTSD, other issues veterans may suffer include:
  • Autoimmune disorders borne out of stress.
  • Hearing Loss
  • Musculoskeletal injuries and pain
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Violent behavior
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Contemplating Suicide

6 - Common Terminology, Acronyms, and Jargon
6.1 - Official Terminology and Acronyms

This should be pretty cut and dry. This will be a list of some of the more common terminology and acronyms in the military (That I think may be more useful in PZ Roleplay). For more in depth research, look to the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
    • Acronyms
      • AAA - Antiaircraft Artillery
      • AAM - Air to Air Missile
      • AAR - After Action Review
      • AB - Airbase
      • ABCT - Armored Brigade Combat Team
      • A/C - Aircraft
      • AD - Area Defense/Area Denial
      • AFB - Air Force Base
      • AH - Attack Helicopter
      • ANG - Air National Guard
      • ARNG - Army National Guard
      • ASM - Air to Surface Missile
      • AT - Anti Terrorism/Anti-Tank
      • ATF - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
      • AVL - Anti Vehicle Land Mine
    • ADVANCE — The forward movement of a unit toward the enemy.
    • ADVANCE GUARDS — A security element that precedes and protects the main body of a force, whatever its formation, and covers its deployment for action if enemy contact is made.
    • ANTI-VEHICLE LAND MINE — A mine designed to immobilize or destroy a vehicle. Also called AVL.
    • ANTIGUERRILLA OPERATIONS — Operations conducted by conventional forces against guerrilla forces in rear areas at the same time the conventional force is engaged in conventional combat operations in the forward areas.
    • AREA DEFENSE — A form of defense oriented toward the retention of specific terrain; area defense relies mainly on deployed forces that fire to stop and repulse the attacker.
    • AREA OF OPERATIONS — An operational area defined by a commander for land and maritime forces that should be large enough to accomplish their missions and protect their forces. Also called AO. See also area of responsibility; joint operations area; joint special operations area.
    • Acronyms
      • bbl - Barrel (42 US gallons)
      • BCT - Brigade Combat Team
      • BDA - Battle Damage Assessment
      • BDE - Brigade
      • BI - Battle Injury
      • BM - Ballistic Missile
      • BN - Battalion
      • BVR - Beyond Visual Range
      • BZ - Buffer Zone
    • BARRAGE — Final protective fires of indirect fire weapons
    • BARRIER — A coordinated series of natural or man-made obstacles designed or employed to channel, direct, restrict, delay, or stop the movement of an opposing force and to impose additional losses in personnel, time, and equipment on the opposing force.
    • BASE — 1. A locality from which operations are projected or supported. 2. An area or locality containing installations which provide logistics or other support. 3. Home airfield or home carrier. See also facility.
    • BASE DEFENSE —The local military measures, both normal and emergency, required to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of enemy attacks on, or sabotage of, a base to ensure the maximum capacity of its facilities is available to United States forces.\
    • BATTLE DAMAGE REPAIR — The estimate of damage composed of physical and functional damage assessment, as well as target system assessment, resulting from the application of lethal or nonlethal military force. Also called BDA.
    • BATTLE DAMAGE REPAIR — Essential repair, which may be improvised, carried out rapidly in a hostile environment in order to return damaged or disabled equipment to temporary service.\
    • BATTLE INJURY — Damage or harm sustained by personnel during or as a result of battle conditions. Also called BI.
    • BIOLOGICAL AGENT — A microorganism (or a toxin derived from it) that causes disease in personnel, plants, or animals or causes the deterioration of materiel. See also chemical agent.
    • BIOSURVEILLANCE — The process to gather, integrate, interpret, and communicate essential information related to all-hazards, threats, or disease activity affecting human, animal, or plant health to achieve early detection and warning, contribute to overall situational awareness of the health aspects of an incident, and to enable better decision making at all levels.
    • BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM — A combined arms team that forms the basic building block of the Army’s tactical formations. Also called BCT.
    • BUFFER ZONE — 1. A defined area controlled by a peace operations force from which disputing or belligerent forces have been excluded. Also called area of separation in some United Nations operations. Also called BZ. See also line of demarcation; peace operations. (JP 3-07.3) 2. A designated area used for safety in military operations.
    • Acronyms
      • C&E - Communications and Electronics
      • C2 - Command and Control
      • CAS - Close Air Support
      • CASEVAC - Casualty Evacuation
      • CBR - Chemical, biological, and radiological
      • CBRN - Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear
      • CCD - Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception
      • CCDR - Combatant Commander
      • CCP - Casualty Collection Point
      • CDD - Chemical Decontamination Detachment
      • CEA - Captured Enemy Ammunition
      • CEB - Combat Engineer Battalion
      • CEE - Captured Enemy Equipment
      • C-IED - Counter-Improvised Explosive Device
      • CoC - Code of Conduct
    • CACHE — A source of subsistence and supplies, typically containing items such as food, water, medical items, and/or communications equipment, packaged to prevent damage from exposure and hidden in isolated locations by such methods as burial, concealment, and/or submersion, to support isolated personnel. See also evader; evasion; recovery; recovery operations.
    • CALL SIGN — Any combination of characters or pronounceable words, which identifies a communication facility, a command, an authority, an activity, or a unit; used primarily for establishing and maintaining communications. Also called CS.
    • CANNIBALIZATION — The act of taking apart or parts from an unserviceable piece of equipment to make another piece of equipment serviceable.
    • CASUALTY — Any person who is lost to the organization by having been declared dead, duty status – whereabouts unknown, missing, ill, or injured.
    • CASUALTY EVACUATION — The unregulated movement of casualties that can include movement both to and between medical treatment facilities. Also called CASEVAC.
    • CHECKPOINT — An easily identifiable point on the terrain that is used in controlling movement or reporting locations of friendly units.
    • CHEMICAL AGENT — A chemical substance that is intended for use in military operations to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate mainly through its physiological effects. See also chemical warfare; riot control agent.
    • CLOSE COMBAT— Hand-to-hand fighting with weapons, such as bayonets, hand grenades, service rifles, or pistols.
    • COMBAT AND OPERATIONAL STRESS — The expected and predictable emotional, intellectual, physical, and/or behavioral reactions of an individual who has been exposed to stressful events in military operations.
    • COMMAND POST (CP)— The location of a unit’s headquarters from which the commander and the staff operate.
    • CONTAMINATION MITIGATION — The planning and actions taken to prepare for, respond to, and recover from contamination associated with all chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats and hazards to continue military operations.
    • CONVOY — A group of vehicles organized for the purpose of control and orderly movement with or without escort protection that moves over the same route at the same time and under one commander.
    • CONVOY ESCORT — An escort to protect a convoy of vehicles from being scattered, destroyed, or captured.
    • CONTINGENCY — A situation requiring military operations in response to natural disasters, terrorists, subversives, or as otherwise directed by appropriate authority to protect United States interests.
    • COOK OFF— A cook off is a functioning of any or all of the explosive components of a cartridge or shell caused by a weapon that has become very hot from continuous firing.
    • COUNTERATTACK— An attack by a part or all of a defending force against an enemy attacking force. The specific purpose of the attack is to regain ground lost or to cut off or destroy enemy advance units. The general objective of the attack is to deny friendly territory to the enemy.
    • COVER— Any object that gives protection from enemy fire.
    • Acronyms
      • D&D - Denial and Deception
      • D&M - Detection and Monitoring
      • DA - Direct Action
      • DMZ - Demilitarized Zone
      • DNBI - Disease and nonbattle injury
      • DZ - Drop Zone
    • DECONTAMINATION — The process of making any person, object, or area safe by destroying, neutralizing, making harmless, or absorbing and removing chemical or biological agents or by removing radioactive material clinging to or around it.
    • DECOY — An imitation in any sense of a person, object, or phenomenon that is intended to deceive enemy surveillance devices or mislead enemy evaluation. Also called dummy.
    • DEFILADE — 1. Protection from hostile observation and fire provided by an obstacle such as a hill, ridge, or bank. 2. A vertical distance by which a position is concealed from enemy observation. 3. To shield from enemy fire or observation by using natural or artificial obstacles.
    • DELAYING ACTION — A form of defensive action used to slow up the enemy’s advance (without becoming decisively engaged) to gain time.
    • DETAINEE — Any person captured, detained, or otherwise under the control of Department of Defense personnel.
    • DIRECT FIRE— Fire delivered by a weapon sighted directly at the target.
    • DIVERSION — 1. The act of drawing the attention and forces of an enemy from the point of the principal operation; an attack, alarm, or feint that diverts attention.
    • Acronym
      • EA - Electronic Attack/Emergency Action
      • EAP - Emergency Action Plan
      • ECP - Entry Control Point
      • EH - Explosive Hazard
      • EOD - Explosive Ordnance Disposal
      • ERU - Emergency Response Unit
      • EXORD - Execute Order
    • EN ROUTE CARE — Care provided during transport to optimize patient outcomes. Also called ERC.
    • EVACUATION — The process of moving casualties from a battlefield and subsequently of moving them along the chain of evacuation, as necessary; the clearance of personnel or material or both from a given locality
    • EVASION AND ESCAPE (E&E) — The procedures and operations whereby military personnel and other selected individuals are enabled to emerge from an enemy-held or hostile area to areas under friendly control
    • EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE — All munitions and improvised or clandestine explosive devices, containing explosives, propellants, nuclear fission or fusion materials, and biological and chemical agents.
    • EXTRACTION — The phase of operation that deals with the removal of the empty cartridge case from the chamber of an extracting device before ejection.
    • Acronym
      • FE - Fire Element
      • FFA - Free Fire Area
      • FFC - Force fire coordinator
      • FFP - Fresh Frozen Plasma
      • FFT - Friendly Force Tracking
      • FO - Forward Observer
      • FOB - Forward Operating Base
      • FOC - Full Operational Capability
      • FOV - Field of View
    • FEINT — In military deception, an offensive action involving contact with the adversary conducted for the purpose of deceiving the adversary as to the location and/or time of the actual main offensive action.
    • FIRING POSITIONS — Defensive positions from which fire missions are carried out; they are designated primary, alternate, or supplemental
    • FLANK — The right or left extremity of a unit; the element on the extreme right or left of the line; a direction at right angles to the direction a unit is facing.
    • FRIENDLY — A contact positively identified as a friend using identification, friend or foe and other techniques.
    • FREQUENCY — The band on which a unit is to operate its radio communications
    • GO/NO-GO — A critical point at which a decision to proceed or not must be made.
    • Acronyms
      • H&S - Headquarters and Service
      • HA - Holding Area
      • HE - High Explosives
      • HEI - High Explosive Incendiary
      • HQ - Headquarters
      • HR - Hostage Rescue/Helicopter Request
      • HRF - Homeland Response Force
      • HRP - High Risk Personnel
      • HST - High Speed Transport
      • HUD - Heads Up Display
      • HVA - High Value Asset
      • HVI - High Value Individual
      • HVT - High Value Target
      • HW - Hazardous Waste
    • HANGFIRE — A delay in the functioning of a propelling charge explosive train at the time of firing. In most cases the delay, though unpredictable, ranges from a split second to several minutes.
    • HAZARD — A condition with the potential to cause injury, illness, or death of personnel; damage to or loss of equipment or property; or mission degradation. See also injury.
    • Acronym
      • IBCT - Infantry Brigade Combat Team
      • ICBM - Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
      • ICBRN-R International chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear Response
      • ICU - Intensive Care Unit
      • ID - Identification
      • IDF - Indirect Fire
      • IDRA - Infectious Disease Risk Assessment
      • IED - Improvised Explosive Device
      • IFF - Identification, friend or foe
      • ILOC - Integrated Line of Communication
      • IND - Improvised Nuclear Device
      • IO - Information Operations
      • IW - Irregular Warfare
    • IDENTIFICATION — 1. The process of determining the friendly or hostile character of an unknown detected contact. 2. In ground combat operations, discrimination between recognizable objects as being friendly or enemy, or the name that belongs to the object as a member of a class. Also called ID.
    • IMMEDIATE RESPONSE — Any form of immediate action taken in the United States and territories to save lives, prevent human suffering, or mitigate great property damage in response to a request for assistance from a civil authority, under imminently serious conditions when time does not permit approval from a higher authority.
    • INFILTRATE — To pass troops in relatively small numbers through an opening in the enemy’s position or his field of fire or through territory occupied by other troops or organizations.
    • INFRARED POINTER — A low-power laser device operating in the near infrared light spectrum that is visible with light-amplifying, night-vision devices. Also called IR pointer.
    • INSURRECTION— A rising up against an established authority by its own people.
    • INTELLIGENCE — 1. The product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of available information concerning foreign nations, hostile or potentially hostile forces or elements, or areas of actual or potential operations.
    • INTERDICTION — An action to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy the enemy’s military surface capability before it can be used effectively against friendly forces, or to achieve enemy objectives.
    • INTERROGATION — The systematic process of using approved interrogation approaches to question a captured or detained person to obtain reliable information to satisfy intelligence requirements, consistent with applicable law.
    • IRREGULAR WARFARE — A violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant population(s). Also called IW.
    • KEY TERRAIN — Any locality, or area, the seizure or retention of which affords a marked advantage to either combatant.
    • KILL BOX — A three-dimensional permissive fire support coordination measure with an associated airspace coordinating measure used to facilitate the integration of fires.
    • Acronym
      • LAV - Light Armored Vehicle
      • LCM - Landing Craft, Mechanized
      • LCU - Landing Craft, Utility
      • LD - Light Damage
      • LDF - Local Defense Force
      • LE - Law Enforcement
      • LF - Landing Force
      • LGB - Laser Guided Bomb
      • LL - Lessons Learned
      • LZ - Landing Zone
    • LANDING ZONE — Any specified zone used for the landing of aircraft. Also called LZ.
    • LASER RANGEFINDER— A device that uses laser energy for determining the distance from the device to a place or object.
    • LASER TARGET DESIGNATOR — A device that emits a beam of laser energy that is used to mark a specific place or object. Also called LTD.
    • LISTENING POST — A one- or two-man post located forward of the battle position for the purpose of listening for enemy activity.
    • LOGISTICS — Planning and executing the movement and support of forces.
    • Acronym
      • MEU - Marine Expeditionary Unit
      • MEZ - Missile Engagement Zone
      • MIA - Missing in Action
      • MILAIR - Military Air Lift
      • MILDEC - Military Deception
      • M-Kill - Mobility Kill
    • MAGAZINE — A device that stores and supplies ammunition and feeds the ammunition by means of its own spring and follower.
    • MALFUNCTION — The failure of a weapon to function satisfactorily.
    • MANEUVER — 1. A movement to place ships, aircraft, or land forces in a position of advantage over the enemy. 2. Employment of forces in the operational area, through movement in combination with fires and information, to achieve a position of advantage in respect to the enemy.
    • MARK — Call for fire on a specified location to orient the spotter or observer or to indicate targets
    • MASS ATROCITY RESPONSE OPERATIONS — Military activities conducted to prevent or halt mass atrocities. Also called MARO.
    • MASS CASUALTY — Any number of human casualties produced across a period of time that exceeds available medical support capabilities. See also casualty.
    • MASSED FIRE — Fire from a number of weapons directed at a single target point or small area.
    • MATERIEL — All items necessary to equip, operate, maintain, and support military activities without distinction as to its application for administrative or combat purposes
    • MISSION — The specific task or duty assigned to an individual, weapon, or unit.
    • MOUNT — The stand on which a weapon is secured to hold it in position for rapid fire. A mount is either fixed (immovable) or flexible (movable). A flexible mount permits the weapon to move in azimuth and elevation
    • MUNITION — A complete device charged with explosives; propellants; pyrotechnics; initiating composition; or chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material for use in operations including demolitions.
    • NATIONAL EMERGENCY — A condition declared by the President or Congress by virtue of powers previously vested in them that authorize certain emergency actions to be undertaken in the national interest.
    • NATURAL DISASTER — A situation that poses significant danger to life and property that results from a natural cause.
    • NEUTRALIZE — 1. As pertains to military operations, to render ineffective or unusable. 2. To render enemy personnel or materiel incapable of interfering with a particular operation. 3. To render safe mines, bombs, missiles, and booby traps. 4. To make harmless anything contaminated with a chemical agent.
    • NIGHT-VISION GOGGLES — An electro-optical, image-intensifying device that detects visible and near-infrared energy, intensifies the energy, and provides a visible image for night viewing. Also called NVG.
    • NO-FIRE AREA — An area designated by the appropriate commander into which fires or their effects are prohibited.
    • NONCOMBATANT EVACUEES — 1. United States citizens who may be ordered to evacuate by competent authority, and who are civilian employees of all agencies of the United States Government and their dependents, excepting dependents who are residents in the country concerned of their own volition; military personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States specifically designated for evacuation as noncombatants; and dependents of members of the Armed Forces of the United States.
    • OBJECTIVE — 1. The clearly defined, decisive, and attainable goal toward which an operation is directed. 2. The specific goal of the action taken which is essential to the commander’s plan.
    • OBSTACLE — Any natural or man-made obstruction designed or employed to disrupt, fix, turn, or block the movement of an opposing force, and to impose additional losses in personnel, time, and equipment on the opposing force.
    • OBSERVATION POST (OP) — A vantage point from which enemy activity in front of the FEBA is observed.
    • OBSTACLE — Any barrier-natural or artificial-that stops or impedes the movement of a unit.
    • OPERATION — 1. A sequence of tactical actions with a common purpose or unifying theme. (JP 1) 2. A military action or the carrying out of a strategic, operational, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission.
    • ORDNANCE — Explosives, chemicals, pyrotechnics, and similar stores, e.g., bombs, guns and ammunition, flares, smoke, or napalm.
    • OUTPOST — A stationary body of troops placed at some distance from the main body while at a halt or in a defensive position. These troops protect the main body from surprise, observation, or annoyance by enemy ground forces.
    • OVERHEAD FIRE — Fire delivered over the heads of friendly troops.
    • PARAMILITARY FORCES — Armed forces or groups distinct from the conventional armed forces of any country, but resembling them in organization, equipment, training, or mission.
    • PATROL — A detachment sent out by a larger unit for the purpose of gathering information or carrying out a destructive, harassing, mop up, or security mission.
    • PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS — Military operations undertaken, with the consent of all major parties to a dispute, designed to monitor and facilitate implementation of an agreement (cease fire, truce, or other such agreement) and support diplomatic efforts to reach a long-term political settlement
    • PENETRATION — An attack that puts the main attacking force through the enemy’s principal defensive position
    • POINT DEFENSE — The defense or protection of special vital elements and installations; e.g., command and control facilities or air bases.
    • POSITION — The location of a gun, unit, or individual from which fire can be delivered upon a given target
    • PROPAGANDA — Any information, ideas, doctrines, or special appeals spread to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of any specified group to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly.
    • PROTECTIVE FIRE — Fire delivered by supporting weapons and directed against the enemy for the purpose of hindering his fire or movement against friendly attacking units.
    • REAR — The direction away from the enemy.
    • REBELLION — Organized, armed, open resistance to the authority or government in power
    • RECONNAISSANCE — A mission undertaken to obtain, by visual observation or other detection methods, information about the activities and resources of an enemy or adversary, or to secure data concerning the meteorological, hydrographic, or geographic characteristics of a particular area.
    • RECOVERY — 1. In personnel recovery, actions taken to physically gain custody of isolated personnel and return them to friendly control. 2. Actions taken to extricate damaged or disabled equipment for return to friendly control or repair at another location.
    • RENDEZVOUS AREA — In an operation, the area in which the ground forces rendezvous to form waves after being loaded and prior to movement to the line of departure.
    • RESERVE — Portion of a body of troops that is kept to the rear or withheld from action at the beginning of an engagement to be available for a decisive movement.
    • REPEAT — A command or request to fire again the same number of rounds with the same method of fire
    • REVOLT — A casting off of allegiance or a refusal to submit to established authority
    • RULES OF ENGAGEMENT — Directives issued by competent military authority that delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered. Also called ROE.
    • SAFE HAVEN — 1. Designated area(s) to which noncombatant evacuees of the United States Government’s responsibility and commercial vehicles and materiel may be evacuated during a domestic or other valid emergency
    • SALVAGE — 1. Property that has some value in excess of its basic material content but is in such condition that it has no reasonable prospect of use for any purpose as a unit and its repair or rehabilitation for use as a unit is clearly impractical. 2. The saving or rescuing of condemned, discarded, or abandoned property, and of materials contained therein, for reuse, refabrication, or scrapping.
    • SEARCH AND RESCUE — The use of aircraft, surface craft, submarines, and specialized rescue teams and equipment to search for and rescue distressed persons on land or at sea in a permissive environment. Also called SAR.
    • SEARCHING FIRE — Fire distributed in depth by successive changes in elevation of a weapon.
    • SECTOR — A clearly defined area that a given unit protects or covers with fire
    • SHOCK ACTION — Actual hand-to-hand combat between opposing troops; an offensive movement by fast-moving forces in which they tend to overrun the enemy by the force of their own momentum.
    • SHORT — A spotting or an observation used by a spotter or an observer to indicate that a burst fell SHORT of the TARGET in relation to a line perpendicular to the spotting line
    • SHOW OF FORCE — An operation planned to demonstrate United States resolve that involves increased visibility of United States deployed forces in an attempt to defuse a specific situation that, if allowed to continue, may be detrimental to United States interests or national objectives
    • SPOTTER — A trained individual positioned to observe and report results of naval gunfire to the firing agency and who may also designate targets.
    • STATIC — Any electrical disturbance caused by atmospheric conditions. Interferes with radio communications
    • STRIKE — An attack to damage or destroy an objective or a capability.
    • SUPPLIES — In logistics, all materiel and items used in the equipment, support, and maintenance of military forces.
    • SUPPLY CHAIN — The linked activities associated with providing materiel from a raw materiel stage to an end user as a finished product.
    • SUPPORT — 1. The action of a force that aids, protects, complements, or sustains another force in accordance with a directive requiring such action. 2. A unit that helps another unit in battle. 3. An element of a command that assists, protects, or supplies other forces in combat.
    • SUPPORTING FIRE — Fire delivered by supporting units to assist or protect a unit in combat.
    • SUPPRESSION — Temporary or transient degradation by an opposing force of the performance of a weapons system below the level needed to fulfill its mission objectives.
    • SURVIVAL, EVASION, RESISTANCE, ESCAPE — Actions performed by isolated personnel designed to ensure their health, mobility, safety, and honor in anticipation of or preparation for their return to friendly control. Also called SERE
    • TARGET ACQUISITION — The detection, identification, and location of a target in sufficient detail to permit the effective employment of capabilities that create the required effects. Also called TA.
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS — Any transmission, emission, or reception of various forms of information by wire, radio, visual, or other electromagnetic systems.
    • TIME ON TARGET — The actual time at which munitions impact the target. Also called TOT
    • UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE — Activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, and guerrilla force in a denied area. Also called UW.
    • UNDERGROUND — A civilian organization that supports the resistance movement through covert (secret) actions. Such actions include intelligence collection, subversion, sabotage, terror, assassination, and dissemination of propaganda in areas denied to the guerrilla force.

6.2 - Slang and Jargon

After spending a couple hours copying and pasting shit, I'm kind of done with that and don't feel like doing it again for slang and jargon. So like, here's some lists that you can look at. You can also go watch some movies like Jarhead, Generation Kill, and VETTv to get an idea of what military slang looks like.
Glossary of Military Terms and Slang
Glossary of Military Acronyms
U.S. Military Lingo: The (Almost) Definitive Guide
"Phrases Only People In the Military Will Understand"
Military Jargon
Last edited:


Sep 11, 2019
Finished with the Guide for the time being; I don't see officer characters that often, so I'll do that at a later point. Will make other minor edits here and there at some point.