Glossary

A – F  ||  G – M  ||  N – S  ||  T – Z

1MC: This provides a means of transmitting general information and orders to all internal ship spaces and topside areas and is loud enough that all embarked personnel are able to (normally) hear it.  It is used to put out general information to the ship’s crew on a regular basis each day

2P – pronounced “two P” and is a term used to designate a copilot.  Came from the patrol and transport aircraft communities which often had crews with three pilots on long missions or transits.

9K33 OSASelf-contained SAM system with surveillance, terminal guidance and optical tracking system on a single wheeled vehicle (TELAR) with six SA-8 missiles.  Known by the NATO code name SA-8 Gecko.

III MEFThird Marine Expedition Force which consists of the First Marine Division and the Third Marine Air Wing.  All of which, at the time the novels take place, were based in Japan and Okinawa.

A-6 Intruder – Grumman built carrier based medium attack aircraft that was designed for low level, all weather strike operations.  The A-6 carried a crew of two, a pilot and a bombardier/navigator who sat side by side.  The “E” model was introduced late in the Vietnam War.

A-26K Counter Invader – The B-26 Invader was originally designed as a high speed medium bomber to replace the Douglas B-25 Mitchell and the Martin B-26 Marauder.  The “bomber” version had a glass nose for a bombardier/navigator and the “attack” variant had a “solid” nose with eight fifty caliber machine guns.  2,505 B models and 1,091 C models were built.  The airplanes with the solid nose were originally flown by a single pilot, a loader/navigator for the guns in the nose and a gunner in a glassed in area in the rear fuselage.  The gunner controlled two turrets, one on the top and the other in the bottom of the fuselage.  Each turret had two fifty caliber guns.

In 1948, the airplane was re-designated by the newly independent Air Force as the A-26 and it was used as a night intruder during the Korean War.  Early in the Vietnam War, the Air Force wanted to use the airplane for interdiction missions along the Ho Chi Minh and forty Cs were taken out of mothballs and converted to the K model.  The rear turrets were removed along with the wing guns.  Four ordnance stations on each wing were added.  The avionics were upgraded and the cockpit layout changed to allow for a pilot and a co-pilot.

Historically, this airplane is very significant for two reasons.  First, it is one of only two airplanes in U.S. military history that have been flown on combat missions in three major wars – World War II, Korea and Vietnam.  The other is the C-47.

Second, its designers – Ed Heinemann and Ted Smith – created many of the best military and civilian aircraft ever built. Before the B-26, Heinemann designed the A-20 and the Navy’s SBD Dauntless dive bomber.  Later, he would lead the design team for the A-1, A-3, A-4 and other successful aircraft.  One of the young engineers working for Heinemann was Ted Smith who would, after the war design the Aero Commander twin engine business aircraft and found the Aerostar Corporation.

AAA – Spoken as “Triple A” and it refers to anti-aircraft artillery used to shoot down aircraft.

“ACTUAL”Actual meant that the person using the radio was the commander of the unit using that particular call sign.  Zero Zero Actual is used by the Navy to designate the unit’s commanding officer.

Alpha and Bravo – Designation of the two crewmembers which were preceded by the aircraft’s call sign.  For example, the pilot of Swordsman 505 is “505 Alpha” while the bombardier/navigator is “505 Bravo.”

AngelsNavy/military term for altitude in thousands of fee, i.e. angels 10 meant 10,000 feet.

AN-12: The AN-12 is a four engine, tactical military transport that was also flown in the Aeroflot, the Soviet national airline colors. It is very similar in size and shape to the U.S. C-130 and became operational in 1959. It could carry a 20,000-pound payload over 2,000 miles and 300-plus knots. Over 1,200 were built and many are still in service around the world.

AOR Area of Responsibility.

Airdale – US Navy slang for an aviator.

ASROC Anti-submarine Rocket that carries an acoustic homing torpedo several miles from the launcher.

AUTOVON – Acronym for Automated Voice Network which is the military’s “private” global telephone network.

B-4 Bag: It was a folding bag issued to members of the U.S. Army to hold one full issue of clothing. Its unique design helped keep minimize wrinkling as well as enable the bag to be its own self-contained “closet” when hung. From personal experience, it is easy to pack a B-4 bag with so much stuff that it is bulky and very heavy, almost too heavy to carry.

Bar LockNATO Code name for a long range, air search radar that operated in the E and F frequency bands.  It is a portable system with both antennas mounted on a single van.

Bear – NATO Code name for the Tu-94 which is a four engine turboprop.  The Bear comes in several flavors, bomber, cruise missile shooter, electronic surveillance, radar and anti-submarine.  Designed and built in the ‘50s as a strategic bomber, the versatile aircraft is still in use in the 20th century.

Belkan Coast – Western shoreline of the. Sea of Japan from the Soviet North Korean border to Sakhalin Island.

Beretta M12 – A light, very concealable light machine gun that Beretta started manufacturing in 1962.  The weapon has a distinctive silhouette with a pistol looking handle under the barrel as well as one with the trigger.  It fires 9mm rounds at roughly 550 rounds per minute.  Normally, it is loaded with a 32 round magazine, but 20 and 40 round ones can be used.  It available with a folding stop and the weapon is made in Italy and under license in Brazil and Indonesia.

BEQ: Bachelor Enlisted Quarters a.k.a. “the barracks.”

Bitt: A vertical post, usually one of a pair, set on the deck of a ship and used to secure ropes or cables.

Blackshoe – US Navy slang for a member of the surface Navy

BOQ: Bachelor Officer Quarters a.k.a. “the Q.”

Break Break – Used in radio transmissions by the speaker to identify that he is going to change intended recipients of his transmission.

Break Bulk Freighter Break-bulk ships are designed to transport palletized units or individual packages of general cargo.  They are compartmentalized with several “holds” for stowing cargo.  Each hold is serviced by shipboard cranes which lift the cargo from alongside the ship into and out of the holds.

BQM-34L – This was the L model of the Firebee series of drones or remotely piloted vehicles originally designed in 1961 and were taken out of service after the Vietnam War.  The jet powered drone was about 29 feet long and had a wingspan of about 19 feet.  Range and speed varied based on the model, but the L could fly at about 580 knots and fly about 750 miles and weighed just over 3,000 pounds with full fuel.  Over 400 of the L models were built.

BTBefore Transmission.

BubbleheadUS Navy slang for submariner.

BUPERS – Bureau of Naval Personnel.  The Vice Admiral who runs the organization responsible for personnel assignments, policies records, publicity and promotions is known by the acronym.

BURNING WINDCode name for signals intelligence missions flown by the Air Force RIVET JOINT program RC-135s.  In the Pacific, they originated either at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa or Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

Buster – fly as fast as the airplane or helicopter will go.

C7FAbbreviation for Commander, SEVENTH Fleet.

CDO – Command Duty Officer is the CO’s representative and acts in his stead during the command’s off hours.

CH-46Originally developed for the Marine Corps, the CH-46 is used extensively by the Navy aboard cargo ships for vertical replenishment missions.  The tandem rotor helicopter began deploying with the Navy and Marines in 1964.

Chokers: Navy slang term for “Service Dress White” which for officers and chiefs meant the white uniform blouse that fit tightly around the neck. In the days before stay press fabrics, the “choker whites” were highly starched and uncomfortable to wear until the starch broke down.

CIC: Combat Information Center. It is the nerve center of the ship where all the information from the ship’s sensors is displayed and its weapons fired. In older ships like the Sterett during the Vietnam War, the information from all the sensors was plotted manually on a board and the CIC watch officer had to synthesize and build a picture of the “world” around the ship in his head. Today, technology has automated the process and provided displays that give the watch officer a clearer picture of what is happening.

CINCHOMEJosh’s affectionate title for his wife – Commander in Chief, Home – who he told everyone was his real boss.

CINCPAC – Commander in Chief, Pacific.

CINCPACFLT: (the acronym is pronounced as “sink-pack-fleet”). The acronym stands for the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet who reports to the Commander, Pacific Command, a.k.a. by the acronym CINCPAC.  All Navy units in the Pacific area of operations report to CINCPACFLT for administrative purposes when not assigned to other operational commands, such as Seventh Fleet.

CINCUNCCommander in Chief, United Nations Command.  Refers to the four star general who has several other “hats” in South Korea, for example, Commander, US Forces Korea.

Code of ConductAfter the Korean War, the U.S. military created a code of conduct that governed the actions of any U.S. soldier captured by the enemy.  It was enacted in 1955 by President Eisenhower via presidential directive.  The code has evolved over the years and it can be found in its entirety on Wikipedia.

COMMAACV: (the acronym is pronounced “com-mac-vee). The acronym stands for Commander, Military Assistance and Advisory Command, Vietnam. All Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and allied units operating in Vietnam reported to this individual.

Coasties – slang for members of the US Coast Guard.

CO – Commanding Officer.

COMCARGRU Five – Acronym for Commander, Carrier Group FIVE.

CSAR – Combat Search and Rescue.

CTFCommander, Task Force.

CTF-77: Commander, Task Force 77. Term is used to refer to the individual by his title rather than his name. During the Vietnam War, CTF 77 was the designation for the unit in command of the carriers and supporting ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

CTGCommander, Task Group.

DCADamage Control Assistant.  The officer in charge of assessing and repairing any damage to the ship.

Dieter Dengler: Lieutenant (junior grade) Dengler was a U.S. Navy A-1 Skyraider pilot and a member of VA-145 on board the U.S.S. Ranger when he was shot down over the Miu Gia Pass in Laos on February 1st, 1966. He was captured the next day by the Pathet Lao. After being beaten and tortured, he escaped on June 29th, 1966. Dengler spent 23 days in the jungle before he was able to signal an Air Force plane which picked him up. During the ordeal, he’d lost almost eighty pounds.

DIWDead in the Water.

DPRK – Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, aka North Korea

Dragunov – The semi-automatic rifle was designed in 1963 and has a distinctive looking stock.  It is usually fitted with a four power scope and weighs about nine and a half pounds.  The weapon fires a 7.62 X 54mm round and is fed with a 10 round box magazine.  It has a maximum effective range of about 800 meters.

E-2A Hawkeye – Another Grumman designed and built carrier based aircraft.  The twin turboprop aircraft had a crew of six and provide airborne early warning and control for carrier air wings.  The radar was optimized for over-the-water operations.

East Sea In both Koreas, the Sea of Japan is known as the East Sea.

ECMO: (pronounced Eck-Mo) Stands for electronic countermeasures officer)

EFTOEncode for transmission only.

EP-3EElectronic and photo intelligence version of the P-3 Patrol plane.

ETREstimated time to return to a specific location.

Ex-pats: Ex-patriates. Slang term used to describe businessmen and women who are given long-term assignments in a foreign country.

Exercise Cobra Gold ’82 – Cobra Gold began in 1982 as an annual, joint bilateral, Thailand/U.S. exercise.  Today, participation in the exercise is still controlled by the two founding countries.  If a country wants to join, it must first be granted observer status before it is allowed to participate.  In 2014, over 16,000 men and women from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. conducted joint field and command post exercises.  In addition, in order to foster international cooperation among other nations, the participating armed forces often participate in humanitarian and civic assistance projects designed to improve the quality of life and Thailand’s infrastructure.

Feet Dry – Term Naval Aviators use when crossing from a body of water to flying over dry land.  Opposite of “Feet Dry” is “Feet Wet.”

Feet WetTerm used by Naval and Marine Aviators to mark the time their aircraft transitioned from flying over land to over a large body of water.

GAU-2B/A Mini Gun – Six barreled, electrically powered gun designed and built by GE that was capable of firing up to 6,000 7.62mm rounds per minute.  Modeled after the Civil War era Gatling Gun.  Other versions were built in 20mm and 30mm.

Great Patriotic War: The Soviet Union’s official name for World War II.

Grisha – Soviet corvettes designed for anti-submarine warfare and it carried twin 57mm guns, SA(N)-4 Geckos, 2 ASW torpedo launchers, 2 ASW rocket launchers and two racks of depth charges Three basic models, Grisha Is, IIs, IIIs, IVs and Vs were built totaling 92 ships.  17 Grisha IIs were built for the KGB Border Guard.

Ground Controlled Approach (GCA): An approach in which a ground controller guides the pilot of an aircraft using radar images that show the plane in relation to a glide path and left or right of the centerline of the runway. The GCA was used to guide planes down to runways when the ceilings were 200 feet over the ground and the visibility one-half mile. In most countries, the GCA has been replaced by more modern systems such as ILS, MLS and GPS in which the controller is not needed.

GRU: GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence main directorate of the Soviet Army General Staff of the Soviet Union. It was the Soviet Union’s largest foreign intelligence agency and, like the KGB, is divided into a series of directorates. The Second Directorate is responsible for collecting intelligence from foreign countries and its primary target is the U.S. The Third Directorate concentrates on Asia. The GRU also has a Fleet Intelligence section which tracks naval activities around the world with the primary focus on the location of U.S. carriers and submarines. All information collected is processed under the Chief of Information who has 12 directorates. One of them is the Ninth Directorate which is charged with exploiting technology captured or acquired by the GRU. The GRU, like the KGB, has its own “private” army which in this case are the Spetznaz troops whose rigorous training gives them similar capabilities of the U.S. Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine Recon units.

Fox Mike: Radio terminology for FM radios that operated on frequencies between the 60 – 90 MHz. In Vietnam, the U.S. and allied forces used FM radios for voice communications that operated just below the FM radio bands familiar to most Americans.

HS-10 – Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TEN.  This squadron was the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) or RAG for the H-3.  RAG or Replacement Air Group was a WWII unit that trained pilots for specific aircraft.  FRSs or RAGs transition pilots just out of the training command or other aviators transition to an aircraft of helicopter or pilots returning who had desk jobs and were returning to flying duty.

HAL-3: Helicopter Light Attack Squadron 3. This was a unique squadron formed during the Vietnam War to provide close air support of Navy SEAL and maritime interdiction operations in the Mekong Delta. They flew surplus UH-1B Hueys that were converted to gunships and carried 2.75- millimeter rockets and 7.62- millimeter machine guns. HAL-3 detachments operated off old World War II vintage LSTs (landing ship tanks) as well as air bases. It was formed in 1966 when HC-1 was broken up into three squadrons: HC-1, HC-7 and HAL-3.

HAC – Helicopter Aircraft Commander.  Naval Aviator responsible for completion of the mission and the safety of the helicopter and crew.

Half Standard Rate turncoordinated turn at the rate of one and one half degrees per second.

HH-60H/SH-60BBased on the US Army H-60 Blackhawk, the Navy began deploying the SH-60B SeaHawk in 1985 which was designed specifically for anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare and was designed to be based on frigates, destroyers and cruisers.  The HH-60H was the combat search and rescue version bought by the Navy and deliveries began in 1989.  It is deployed in carrier based HS squadrons to give the air wing a CSAR capability.

Homestead Act of 1862This piece of legislation was a continuation of U.S. government policy that fostered Jefferson’s egalitarian ideal of the “individual farmer” who improved the land and fed his fellow citizens.  To encourage farming, people needed land and the Federal government had lots of it in the less populated regions of the U.S.  Lincoln signed this particular act which granted any U.S. citizen or immigrant who was 21 or older and who had not taken up arms against the federal government 160 acres if he agreed to settle, work and “improve” it for five years.  The law and those that followed outlined a three step process to get the land – (1) apply; (2) sign an affidavit saying you will improve the land; and (3) file for the deed and title.  It was this act and the ones that followed that opened the floodgates of immigration that began after the Civil War because in Europe, most of the land was already taken and expanding an existing farm was very difficult.

IFF: Identification, Friend of Foe. Equipment allows radar operators to determine which aircraft are “friendly” and which ones are not.

Il-62M  – This is an improved version of the IL-62 long range transport.  193 of the four engine aircraft were built.  The four engines were located in two in pods at the aft end of the fuselage.  It had a range of about 5,400 miles at a cruising speed of about 430 knots.  The cockpit crew for international operations included a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and navigator plus four to five flight attendants to serve the 174 passengers.

JEST: Stands for Jungle Escape Survival Training. The course started with a day of classroom training and then migrated to a captive camp in which the students were taught techniques for surviving in the jungle. Then attendees spent several days being chased by Filipinos and Americans trying to evade capture enroute to a mythical evasion/rescue point. If you made it there without being captured, you got something to drink and eat before being tossed into a “simulated” PoW camp in which all the guards were dressed in either North Vietnamese or Soviet military uniforms. There one was treated as one would be if captured by the North Vietnamese or one of its allies. It took only one rifle butt smashed into your side to convince you that the next few days would be spent in a very realistic PoW camp where the guards employed many of the interrogation techniques used by the North Vietnamese.

JAGJudge Advocate General.  JAG officers are trained as traditional lawyers but also in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Jolly Green – Originally Jolly Green was the call sign of the HH-3Cs and Es that the Air Force flew as CSAR helicopters.  The name came from the dark green and brown paint camouflage paint scheme used by the helicopters.  Later in the war, when the HH-3Cs and Es were augmented by HH-53s, the call sign continued regardless of the type helicopter.

JSDFThe military arms of Japan are known as the Japanese Self Defense Forces, i.e.:

  • Japanese Air Self Defense Force
  • Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force
  • Japanese Ground Self Defense Force

Karate gi – A karate gi is the garment worn by students of karate.  It is similar to a judogi as it shares a common origin.  It is a combination of a white robe which is worn with loose fitting white pants.  The robe is with a colored belt called an obi that shows the “rank” or skill level of the wearer.

Katyn Forest Massacre:  On 5 March 1940, after reading a note to Joseph Stalin that was prepared by Beria – the head of the NKVD – six members of the Soviet Politburo – Stalin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, Mikoyan, and Kalinin – signed an order to execute 25,700 Polish “nationalists and counterrevolutionaries” kept at camps and prisons in occupied western Ukraine and Belarus.  The reason for the massacre, according to historian Gerhard Weinberg, was that Stalin wanted to deprive a potential future Polish military of a large portion of its talent.

After the war, the NKVD and then the KGB, systematically destroyed many of the documents in its archives to remove incriminating evidence.  We now know that the head of KGB in the 1950s – Aleksandr Shelepin – carried out the destruction of many documents related to the Katyn massacre so that the Soviet Union could never be implicated.  Shelepin’s note dated March 3rd, 1959 to Nikita Khrushchev proposes the destruction of the files that contained detailed information about the execution of 21,857 Poles.  This proposal was eventually made public.  1990 Mikhail Gorbachev admitted that the NKVD had executed the Poles and confirmed two other burial sites similar to the site at Katyn.

According to Soviet documents declassified in 1990, 21,857 Polish internees and prisoners were executed in a series of mass executions and their bodies dumped into unmarked graves.  Those killed included an admiral, two generals, 24 colonels, 79 lieutenant colonels, 258 majors, 654 captains, 17 naval captains, 3,420 non-commissioned officers.  The officers included about 200 pilots and represented about 50% of the Polish Army’s leadership.  Also killed in this purge of leaders of Polish society were seven chaplains, three landowners, a prince, 43 officials, 85 privates, 131 refugees, 20 university professors, 300 physicians; several hundred lawyers, engineers, and teachers; and more than 100 writers and journalists.

Koban – local National Police stations in Japan.

LAW – Light Anti-Tank weapon designated the Mk. 72 LAW was designed by the Norwegian firm of Raufoss and then licensed built in the US.  It was designed to destroy tanks and armored personnel carriers and was used extensively in Vietnam to take out bunkers.

Lima Sites: These were a series of bases throughout Laos served by both the U.S. Air Force and Air America. The sites, designated LS followed by a number, ranged from helipads scratched out of the jungle to bases with hard-packed dirt called laterite that were 4,500 feet long. The bases were used to supply those fighting both the North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao as well as to support Air Force combat search and rescue and C.I.A. special operations missions.

LPA – Life Preserver, Model A.  This vest had two bladders around the waist and another one that went up the back and around the neck.  When inflated, it kept the pilot upright and his head out of the water.

LSE: Landing Signal Enlisted. This person is a sailor who has been taught how to guide a helicopter onto a flight deck. Usually it is a member of the ship’s helicopter detachment or squadron but on those ships where no helicopters are assigned, members of the ship’s company are trained in the techniques and signals.

LZ: Landing Zone

M-79 – The M-79 was designed to fill in the gap between mortars and hand thrown grenades.  The single shot, breech loading weapon could accurately lob a self-propelled 40mm grenade 300 – 400 yards.

M-60 – Designed in 1957, the M-60 is a belt fed machine gun that replaced both the Browning Automatic Rifle and the M1919A6 machine gun, both of which fired the 30-06 cartridge.  The M-60, which shoots the NATO 7.62mm round borrowed many of the features of the WWII German MG-42 machine gun which is recognized as one of the best weapons of its kind.

MAC – Military Airlift Command.

MakarovDesigned by Nikolay Fyodorovich Makarov, the small compact semi-automatic pistol was the standard issue side arm for the Soviet military and police from 1951 to 1991.  It is still widely used today by police forces and military units all over the world.  Factories in the Soviet Union, East Germany, the People’s Republic of China and Bulgaria have manufactured millions of Makarovs.  The weapon has a eight shot magazine and fires the 9mm x 18mm cartridge whose dimensions are between the 9mm x 19 Luger and the .380 round in size.  The pistol is similar in size and weight to the Walther PPK and PPK/S.

Misty – MISTY was the call sign of a group of combat-experienced fighter pilot volunteers who formed a top secret squadron based in South Viet Nam.  By design, they flew low and fast over looking for targets on the Ho Chi Minh trail carrying only ammo for their four 20mm cannons and marking rockets.  Their CO, Colonel Bud Day was shot down and became a POW in the Hanoi Hilton.  The squadron spawned two Air Force Chiefs of Staff, five other generals, two astronauts, several industry CEOs, and the first man to fly around the world unrefueled in a light aircraft.

Modex Numbers: A modex is a three-digit number used for United States Navy and United States Marine Corps aircraft. The first digit indicates the squadron within the carrier air wing and the next two are the aircraft number. During the Vietnam War, fighter squadrons are 1XX and 2XX and light attack squadrons are 3XX and 4XX. 5XX was used to designate the attack squadrons flying the A-6. The photo reconnaissance airplanes were usually 6XX while the airborne early warning squadrons use the 7XX series numbers. The system has been modified since the A-6s and F-14s have been retired. Now, the fighter/attack squadrons flying version of the F/A-18 are usually the 1XX through the 4XX series. Normally, the commanding officer’s plane (which he or she may or may not fly on a regular basis) is the aircraft with X00 and the executive officer’s is X01.

Mustang – Naval Officer with prior enlisted experience.

Nail Call sign of the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron that flew out of Nakhon Phenom Airbase in Thailand.  The squadron flew O-1 Bird Dogs and OV-10s.

NATOPS – The Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization program prescribes general flight and operating instructions and procedures applicable to the operation of all US naval aircraft and related activities.  This also includes instrument flying where separate annual check rides are also given to each Aviator.  In addition, there are check rides for qualifications such as flight leader and helicopter aircraft commander and tactics.  Open and closed book as well as oral exams are all part of the NATOPS check ride process.  In the seventies, the check rides were given in the aircraft vice today where they are often administered in a simulator.

Navy Standard ship type designations

  • AOE – Fast Combat Support Ship
  • CV –Conventionally powered aircraft carrier
  • CVN –Nuclear powered aircraft carrier
  • DD – Destroyer
  • DDG – Destroyer equipped with surface-to-air guided missiles
  • DDH – Destroyer designed to carry more than two helicopters
  • FF – Frigate
  • FFG – Frigate equipped with surface-to-air guided missiles
  • LHA – Amphibious Assault Ship (General Purpose
  • SS – diesel electric submarine
  • SSN – nuclear attack submarine

 NICPAC – Naval Intelligence Center, Pacific.

NIXIEA towed noisemaker that is used by surface ships to decoy acoustic homing torpedoes.

“N” Head – prior to the current joint designations, each of the departments on Navy staffs were numbered.  The Assistant Chief of Staff for that department was the “N” Head.  Staffs, at the time of this novel takes place generally had seven departments.

  • N1 – Administration
  • N2 – Intelligence
  • N3 – Operations
  • N4 – Logistics
  • N5 – Communications
  • N6 – Operations and Plans
  • N7 – Space and Electronic Warfare

 NOFORN – term used to designate classified material that was not for foreign dissemination, i.e. could not be shown to members of friendly armed forces unless they were specifically cleared for the information.

 NTDSNavy Tactical Display System uses high speed encrypted UHF and HF transmissions to provide to exchange sensor data and provide commanders with a common picture of their operating area.

Nunchuks Nunchuks are a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon made from two hardwood or bamboo sticks connected by a short length of rope or chain.  It widely used in karate and is effective in a fight as long as the other individual does not have a long weapon such as a sword.  Nunchuku, the Japanese word for the weapon, were made popular by actor and martial art expert Bruce Lee and his fellow expert Don Inosanto.

O-in-C – Officer in charge.

Ops Oh – Short for Operations Officer.

OODOfficer of the Deck.

OTC – On-Scene or Site, Tactical Commander or Officer in Tactical Command.

 OTCIXSOfficer in Tactical Command Information Exchange System.

OV-10: The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a two- seat, turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. Besides the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, the airplane was flown by six other countries. It was developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) combat, and one of its primary missions was as a forward air control aircraft. It carried four M-60s mounted in the stub wings beneath the fuselage and a mix of bombs, rockets and/or an external fuel tank on the three ordnance stations beneath the belly. Each wing also had an additional ordnance station. The A model was upgraded to a D which had more power and other modifications. Both airplanes could fly for about three hours.

P-12 – The Soviet designation for the long range surveillance radar that supported SA-2 missile and AAA sites.  Also known by its NATO Code Name – Spoon Rest – the P-12 system had a maximum detection range of about 250 nautical miles and was usually mounted on a truck or a trailer.

PACAF – Pacific Air Forces.  When used as a name, the speaker is generally referring to the Commander, Pacific Air Forces to whom all the Air Force units in the Pacific Theater report to administratively.  He is also responsible for providing those units with logistic support.  Operationally, the units may report to other commanders, such as Commander, UN Forces in Korea or as in BIG MOTHER 40, Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

Pad Eyes: Indentations in the deck that were about two inches deep that had welded bars across them that you could easily grab with the hook at the end of the tie-down chain. The bars also prevented one’s boot from getting stuck in the pad eye.

Parachute Bag: Large olive drab bag originally designed to carry a backpack parachute as well as other gear a pilot carries. The heavy canvas bag is very sturdy and most people can pack it with so much stuff that is very heavy to lift. The author’s is now used to carry a family’s ski boots and other paraphernalia that one takes on ski trips and it swallows them with ease.

PETYA II FF – Light, 1100 ton gas turbine ship designed by the Soviet Navy specifically for ASW.  One of its unique features was a dipping sonar.  Carried four 76mm guns, four ASW torpedos and four ASW rocket launchers.  The 54 ship class had a nominal crew of about 90 and was exported to India, Ethopia, Vietnam and Syria.

PI – Photo Interpreter also is Navy slang and abbreviation for the Philippines.

Plankowner: Term used by the U.S. Navy to describe a member of a unit when it was first commissioned.

PRC-90: Officially known as the AN/PRC-90, the small hand-held operated on two international distress frequencies, 121.5 in the VHF frequency band, 243.0 in the UHF bad and on the “standard” U.S. search and rescue UHF frequency of 282.8 MHz AM. The PRC-90 also included a beacon mode and a tone generator to allow the sending of Morse Code which could be under ideal conditions picked up 60 nautical miles away by an airplane at 10,000 feet or higher. The tone signal could be picked up at 80 miles at 10,000 feet.

PigeonsTerm used to describe bearing and range to a specific location.

PSSF Stands for People’s Public Security Force.  This references the group of agencies within the government of Vietnam that include:

  • The Public Security Ministry;
  • Public Security Departments of provinces and centrally-run cities;
  • Public Security Offices of rural districts, urban districts, provincial towns and provincially-run cities; and
  • Public Security Offices of communes, wards and townships

R&R: Rest and recreation. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces in country were authorized a one-week trip to Hawaii or other destinations in the Western Pacific. The U.S. government paid for the flight and hotel expenses. The most popular destinations were Honolulu, Hawaii; Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong and Singapore.

RA-5C Vigilante: The RA-5 was originally designed as a supersonic replacement of the A-3 to deliver nuclear bombs. However, with the increased deployment of submarine ballistic missiles, the mission of the aircraft was changed to photo reconnaissance. The twin- engine airplane was fast and, for its size, very maneuverable although it was a challenge to get it aboard the carrier. Its design included many firsts such as the first fly- by- wire system, the first head-up display coupled to a navigation and attack system and other innovations. All of which made it a complex aircraft that was difficult to maintain. The RA-5Cs, which were beautiful airplanes, were all retired in 1980, almost a decade before the A-3s were sent to the boneyard in the early 1990s.

RADM(LH) – Rear Admiral, Lower Half.  Equivalent to a brigadier general.

RADM (UH)Rear Admiral, Upper Half.  Equivalent to a major general.

RED CROWNCall sign for ships, usually guided missile cruisers (CLGs) or large guided missile destroyers (DLGs) stationed in the northern part of the Gulf of Tonkin.  Ship’s mission was to monitor North Vietnamese air and communications activities and provide radar vectors for intercepts and coordination for search and rescue operations.  When it was operational, a data link between the ship’s combat information center the airborne E-2 gave them an accurate radar picture of what was happening over North Vietnam.

REMF Derogatory term that stands for Rear Echelon Mother Fucker.  Used to describe anyone who gets in the way of providing maximum effort in support of those at the pointy edge of the sword.

RHIP – Acronym for Rank Has Its Privileges.

RIBRigid inflatable boat, usually powered by a large outboard motor that has a very, very effective muffler.

Ringknocker – Slang for a US Naval Academy graduate.  Term came about because during boards of inquiry, the accused would turn his ring around and gently tap the green covered table as a subtle reminder that he was an Annapolis graduate in the hopes that the board would find in his favor or assess minimal punishment.

ROERules of Engagement.

Romeo SSdiesel electric submarine designed in the early 50’s and is based on the German type 21 submarine from World War II.  Widely exported around the world.

ROK – Republic of Korea, aka South Korea.

RopeSlang term for the admiral’s aide who wore a distinctive loop of braided blue and white rope on his left shoulder.

Route Packs – To prosecute the air war against North Vietnam, planners divided the country into six “Route Packages”.  Route Packs 5 and 6 encompassed Hanoi and Haiphong, while Route Pack 1 was the southern panhandle of North Vietnam from just south of Vinh to the DMZ.  Route Packs 2, 3, and 4 encompassed the remainder of the country.  The Air Force was assigned primary responsibility for Packs 1 and 5, while the U.S. Navy was assigned Packs 2, 3, 4 and 6.  Route Pack 6 was later divided into Packs 6A and 6B with the Air Force being given 6A and the Navy 6B.

S-75 – Soviet name for the surface-to-air missile was Divina and the NATO code name SA-2 Guideline.  It had a theoretical range of about 35 miles from its launch point and could reach a target as high as 50,000.  It’s greatest claim to fame is that an SA-2 shot down Frances Gary Power’s U-2.

SARCAP – Search and Rescue Combat Air Patrol.  Refers to the aircraft designated either ad hoc or as part of a pre-briefed and planned operation to a CSAR mission.

SCISpecially compartmented intelligence.

SCIFspecial compartmented intelligence facility.

SDVSwimmer Deliver Vehicle.  Mini submarine that SEALs use to transit from a submerged submarine to a place where they can easily swim ashore.

SEAL US Navy designation for their special operations forces (SEa, Air, Land).  Also nicknamed “snake eaters.”

SERE – Acronym refers to the Survival Escape, Resistance and Evasion course which is mandatory for all Naval Aviators and other designated warfighters.  Students spend at least 3 – 4 days in a “simulated” POW camp where they are subject to many of the methods of interrogation and torture used by our enemies.

SH-3GVersion of the H-3 Sea King that featured external fuel tanks, removable dipping sonar equipment and external cargo hooks so that the helicopter could perform either ASW or logistics and vertical replenishment missions.

SIGINT – Signal Intelligence.

SITREPSITuation REPort.

Snake eater – US Navy slang for SEAL.

SOB – Souls on Board.  Term that was borrowed from ship operations to designate the number of people who are on a particular aircraft.

SOFSpecial Operations Forces.

SOJSea of Japan.

SOSUSNetwork of hydrophones that record sounds in the deep sound channel in the major oceans.  Provides long range detection and location of submarines and surface ships.

Sous-lieutenant: French equivalent to a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, Army or Marines and an ensign in the U.S. Navy.

S.P.L.A.S.H. Publication: Stood for Shipboard Platforms for Landing and Servicing Helicopters. The pages of the kneeboard – sized book had depictions of the helo decks of all non-aviation ships, i.e. those that were not a carrier. It contained useful information on the layout of the deck, obstacles, navigation information, lighting and its four letter call sign. The Sterett’s page from a 1970 version of the publication is shown earlier in the book.

Spooks – Pre-political correctness Navy term for those involved in the intelligence business.

Spooky: Call sign for an AC-47 gunship which are also known as “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” The U.S. Air Force converted 53 C-47Ds, which were originally built during World War II, into a gunship that had three 7.62 millimeter mini-guns firing out the port side of the fuselage. Each weapon could be selected to fire either 50 or 100 rounds- per-second. The aircraft flew in a left-hand orbit at 120 knots air speed at an altitude of 3,000 feet. When it opened fire, the AC-47 could put a bullet into every square yard of a football field-sized target in potentially less than ten seconds. It carried 45flares and 24,000 rounds of ammunition and, depending on how far the target was from its base and it ammunition landed, it could stay over the target for a long time.  The Colombian Air Force is still using these planes!

SR-71: Known as the blackbird, the SR-71 was a Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed by the Lockheed “Skunk Works” headed at the time by Kelly Johnson. It officially joined the Air Force in 1964 and continued flying until 1998. Thirty-two were built and 12 lost in accidents but none were ever shot down. It relied on high speed and altitude to out run missiles or airplanes. Its design made it one of the first stealthy airplanes. At high speeds, the airplane literally expanded several inches in length as the titanium skin and structure heated up. Lockheed developed a special few that would not vaporize at high altitudes or temperatures.

Stokes litter: The Navy’s version has a metal wire frame to make it easy to carry,s through a narrow ship passageway, up and down the ship’s ladders or be hoisted up to a hovering helicopter. Some versions can be disassembled to make it easier to transport. The litter gets its name from its designer, Charles Francis Stokes. Stokes litters are notorious for spinning in a helicopter’s downdraft so when they are hoisted, the Navy keeps it from spinning by having someone on the ground stabilize it with a rope.

TACANTACtical Air Navigation system that operates in the UHF frequency band.  Provides both range and distance to ground stations.  Also has an air-to-air mode that can provide the range between two airplanes on the same channel.

TACAN APPROACH: These approaches take advantage of the system’s ability to provide both distance and bearing to or from a ground station. In the approach, the pilot starts at an initial point and flies an arc at a specified distance from the ground station until he intercepts the final approach radial. At that time, he/she intercepts the radial and descends to designated altitudes at specific distances from the runway until he/she either breaks out beneath the cloud deck and sees the runway or waves off the approach.

 Tactical Pilotage Charts: Known as TPC charts, the scale was 1:500,000 and they had gridlines every 100,000 yards and tic marks every 10,000 yards along with latitude and longitude. The detailed contour lines, outlines of cities, roads, locations of towers and other geographic data made them ideal for planning and plotting low altitude routes. At the time this novel takes place, the government had just begun updating them using satellite imagery which made them even more helpful. They were large, i.e. roughly three feet by four feet and often had to be cut-up and taped together to plot a route that covered more than one chart.

TADTemporary Additional Duty.

TALOS: The Talos was one of the earliest long-range naval surface-to-air missiles deployed on U.S. Navy ships. It used radar beam riding for guidance to the vicinity of its target, and semi-active radar homing (SARH) for terminal guidance. The four antenna array on the missile’s nose are the missile’s receivers which functioned as a continuous wave interferometer. Thrust was provided by a solid rocket booster for initial launch and a ramjet for flight to target with the warhead doubling as the ramjet’s compressor. Due to its large size and dual radar antenna system; there were few ships that could accommodate the large, 30-four foot long, three- and- a- half ton missiles and their supporting radars. The Oklahoma City, one of the three Galveston- class light cruisers to carry the missile, had 14 that could feed the launcher and 30 more un-assembled in a separate magazine. Three MiGs were also shot down by the missile which had an effective range of about 50 nautical miles. Later anti-radar versions were deployed and used to attack North Vietnamese radar sites.

 TAOTactical Action Officer.

 TELAR Transporter erector launcher.

 TOItarget of interest.

“Toasted O”: Nickname for the U.S.S. Oriskany after the 1966 fire. Many carriers and other Navy ships have nicknames, some complimentary, some not. The nicknames often changed as the ships got older or after some event. Here are some others for carriers known to the author:

  • S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42), a.k.a. the “Foul, Dank and Rusty”
  • S.S. Shangri-La (CV-38), a.k.a. the “Shitty Shang”
  • S.S. Blue Ridge (LCC-18), a.k.a. the “Blue Maru”
  • S.S. Constellation (CV-63), a.k.a. “Constipation”
  • S.S. Kitty Hawk (CV-64), a.k.a. “the Shitty Kitty”
  • S.S. Forrestal (CV-59), a.k.a. the “Forrest Fire”
  • S.S. Independence (CV-62), a.k.a. “Windy Indy”
  • S.S. Intrepid (CV-11), a.k.a. “Decrepid”

U-2: This airplane was the first high altitude reconnaissance aircraft developed by the Lockheed Skunk Works. It flew at 70,000+ feet and began flying missions in 1955. Variants of the original design and the TR-2 are still flying today on both photographic and electronic reconnaissance missions. Essentially, the U-2 and its derivatives is a high altitude, jet powered glider

U.S.S. Coral Sea (CV-43)The Coral Sea was the last of the three Midway class aircraft carriers built.  Her keel was laid in 1944 and the ship was commissioned in 1947.  The Coral Sea was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet until she was decommissioned for a major refit in May, 1957.  Three years later, in September 1960, the carrier emerged from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard with a new angled deck and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet.  In 1985 Coral Sea returned the Atlantic Fleet and her air wing participated in the bombing of the terrorist training camps in Libya in 1986 in Operation El Dorado Canyon.  The Coral Sea was decommissioned in 1990 and scrapped.

The actual deployment referenced in Forgotten POWs took the Coral Sea into the Indian Ocean and the North Arabian Sea during the hostage crisis in Iran.  As part of the cruise, the ship made two port calls in Thailand.  For this reason, the carrier and its battle group are used to support the plot.  During the cruise, the Coral Sea left Alameda, CA on August, 1981 and returned on March, 1982.  At the time, Carrier Air Fourteen with the tail letters NK was on board and the ship was part of Carrier Group Five.  The deployment included 98 continuous days at sea on Gonzo Station in the North Arabian Sea.  The air wing’s squadrons and airplanes were:

  • VF-21 – Black Knights NK 100 – F-4N
  • VF-154 – Freelancers NK 200 – F-4N
  • VA-97 – Warhawks – NK 300 – A-7E
  • VA-27 – Royal Maces – NK 400 – A-7E
  • VA-196 – Main Battery – NK 500 – A-6E/KA-6D
  • VAW-113 – Black Eagles – NK 600 – E-2B
  • VFP-63 Det. 2 Eyes of the Fleet NK 115 – 117 – RF-8G
  • HC-1 – Pacific Fleet Angels – NK 610 – 614– SH-3G

UCSD – University of San Diego

UCMJ: The letters stand for the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the code applies to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are on active duty and Reservists when they are drilling on weekends or anytime they are on active duty. Members of the Coast Guard when operating in a military capacity as part of the Navy also fall under the UCMJ. The beginnings go back to June 30th, 1775, when the Second Continental Congress established 69 Articles of War to govern the conduct of the Continental Army and Navy and Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution provided that Congress has the power to regulate the land and naval forces. On April 10th, 1806, Congress expanded the original 69Articles of War to 101. They were revised in 1916 and again after World War I in 1920. A major reform to the Articles of War came in 1948 which led to the UCMJ as we know it today. The Navy’s version was known as Rocks and Shoals and had its own articles that applied just to naval operations and was not substantially updated since its enactment. On May, 31, 1951, the UCMJ went into effect for all branches of the U.S. Military and replaced the Articles of War and Rocks and Shoals.

The sections of the UCMJ articles referenced in the book are provided verbatim below:

  • Article 90 – Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer. Section (2) willfully disobeys a lawful command of his superior commissioned officer; shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, and if the offense is committed at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct
  • Article 94 – Mutiny or Sedition

Any person subject to this chapter who–

  • with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuse, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;
  • with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority is guilty of sedition;
  • fails to do his utmost to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition being committed in his presence, or fails to take all reasonable means to inform his superior commissioned officer or commanding officer of a mutiny or sedition which he knows or has reason to believe is taking place, is guilty of a failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition.
  • A person who is found guilty of attempted mutiny, mutiny, sedition, or failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”
  • Article 97 – Unlawful detention

Any person subject to this chapter who, except as provided by law, apprehends, arrests, or confines any person shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

(1) That the accused apprehended, arrested, or confined a certain person; and

(2) That the accused unlawfully exercised the accused’s authority to do so.

Vietnamese Military Districts – The Vietnamese People’s Army has divided the unified country into nine military regions.  The 4th Military Region or Military District covers an area south of Hanoi/Haiphong to what used to be the DMZ that separated North and South Vietnam.  Its headquarters is in Vinh.  Commanders of Vietnamese Military Districts are usually also members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Wetting Down – Traditional celebratory gathering during which the Naval Officer getting promoted buys appetizers and adult beverages for his peers in his unit and any invited guests.

Winchester – Term used in Naval Aviation to indicate that they were out of weapons.

Whale – Slang name for the A-3 Skywarrior which was at the time, the largest aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier.  The A-3D was also known as “All Three Dead” because there were no ejection seats and the way the crew would exit a disabled was through a slide from the cockpit.  It was also known as the “Whale” and the gyrations during an arrested landing were the source of amusement among those who didn’t fly the Whale.  The A-3s were no longer used as bombers and all the ones in the fleet had been converted into either EA-3Bs which had five electronic warfare officers or linguists in the belly where the bomb bay was or made into tankers and called KA-3s.

XO – Short for Executive Officer or the second in command of a Navy unit.

US Navy Squadron types

  • HC – Helicopter Combat Support
  • HCS – Helicopter Combat Support, Special Operations
  • HS – Helicopter Anti-Submarine
  • HSL – Helicopter Anti-Submarine, Light
  • VF – Fighter
  • VA – Attack
  • VAQ – Electronic Attack
  • VAW – Airborne Early Warning
  • VFA – Fighter/Attack
  • RVAH – Reconnaissance and Heavy Attack
  • VP – Patrol
  • VQ – Electronic Warfare

Vladshort for the port of Vladivostok and headquarters of the Soviet Pacific Fleet and Ministry of Marine’s Pacific offices.

West SeaIn both Koreas, the Yellow Sea is known as the West Sea.

Westpac: Slang and acronym for Western Pacific. At the time CHERUBS 2 takes place, it is a general reference to ships and aircraft operating in and around Vietnam and the Philippines

 XOExecutive officer.

 Zero Zero and Zero Zero Actual– In Navy terminology, when referring to the commanding officer of a unit, he is 00.  In order to identify himself on the radio, the CO will use the term Zero Zero Actual.

Zuni – The Zuni is a five inch, air to ground rocket fired from the LAU-10 launcher.  The rocket weighs 110 pounds, forty of which is the warhead and the remaining 70 pounds is made up by the rocket motor and fuselage.  It has a range of about five miles, although is rarely shot that far and is normally delivered in a diving attack.  The rockets can be fired singly with each pull of the trigger, or fired all at once in a salvo.  The most common method is “ripple” fire in which the pilot selects the interval between rocket launches.  For example, if he sets “one second,” when the pilot pulls the trigger, the rockets leave the pod at one-second intervals.

Big Mother 40 by Marc Liebman
Render Harmless by Marc Liebman
Cherubs 2 by Marc Liebman
Forgotten by Marc Liebman
Inner Look by Marc Liebman

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