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Deployment ABCs: Military Vocabulary

Military Vocabulary

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.  If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat! 

Becoming a military spouse requires navigating through a fairly large learning curve. Whether it’s figuring out how to survive and thrive during a deployment or how to fill out a customs form for care packages, new military spouses have a lot of learning to do. For me the hardest part has definitely been getting the lingo down. The military vocabulary is not super user/civilian friendly. Am I right, fellow military spouses?!

I swear the military has never met a word they didn’t figure out how to abbreviate and not always in a way that makes a ton of sense! It’s not at all surprising that someone new to the world could get lost in the sheer number of letters. Over the course of my relationship with A, I feel as if I’ve slowly learned a foreign language. Consider the following my Military Vocabulary for Dummies cheat sheet.

Chit – this may be exclusive to the Navy, but chits are documents sailors fill out for various requests (emergency time off, moving off base, etc.)

CO (Commanding Officer) – the big cheese, the dude (or lady) in charge of everything.

CONUS (Contiguous United States) – everything except Hawaii and Alaska.

DD214 – form that officially discharges an individual from the military; generally needed to access veterans’ benefits.

Dependent – spouse, children and other family members of a member of the military

Leave – time off

LES (Leave & Earnings Statement) – a monthly statement of an individual’s pay record, accumulated leave and other important data; often used like a civilian’s pay stub and may be requested for a variety of reasons.

LIMDU (Limited Duty) – now referred to as TLD or temporary limited duty, this is another example of something that may be limited to the Navy; it essentially indicates that a sailor is temporarily injured or ill and may not be able to participate in all aspects of their job.

MCPON (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy) – the highest ranking enlisted member of the Navy

OCONUS (Outside the Contiguous United States) – Hawaii, Alaska and other countries

OPSEC (Operations Security) – a serious of rules and regulations aimed at reducing the amount of information available about military movements.

Orders – in general, it’s any command, but oftentimes it’s used in conjunction with moving (PCS orders).

PCS (Permanent Change of Station) – official relocation of an active duty military individual or family to a different duty station.

PT (Physical Training) – required exercise

TDY (Temporary Duty Yonder) – a temporary (anything from two to 179 days in length) change in duty station

What military vocabulary should I add to the list?

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