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Glossary of Military Terms & Slang from the Vietnam War U-Z

This text, made available by the Sixties Project, is copyright (c) 1996 by Viet Nam Generation, Inc., or the author, all rights reserved. This text may be used, printed, and archived in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright law. This text may not be archived, printed, or redistributed in any form for a fee, without the consent of the copyright holder. This notice must accompany any redistribution of the text. The Sixties Project, sponsored by Viet Nam Generation Inc. and the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, is a collective of humanities scholars working together on the Internet to use electronic resources to provide routes of collaboration and make available primary and secondary sources for researchers, students, teachers, writers and librarians interested in the 1960s.

Go to: Numbers, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z


pants not tucked into boot tops
a Huey helicopter
military phonetic for the letter 'U'
prefix to serial number of Army draftees
United States Air Force
U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam. Command of operations unit for all U.S. military forces in Vietnam, based in Long Binh.
United Service Organization. Provided entertainment to the troops, and was intended to raise morale.
U.S. Operations Mission. Funded U.S. programs during the early American involvement in Vietnam.


a type of ambush set-up, shaped like the letter.
Veterans Administration
Viet Cong, the National Liberation Front
Viet Cong infrastructure. It was the aim of the Viet Cong to have a complete government in place when their victory was finally won. Thus, where manpower allowed, Communist cadres were secretly assigned positions as village chiefs, police officers, postment, District-level officers, Province-level officers, and National-level officers. The VCI were the "shadow government" of the National Liberation Front and were awaiting the day they could step forward and claim their offices.
Veterans of Foreign Wars. An American service organization.
military phonetic for the letter 'V'
Victor Charlie
the Viet Cong; the enemy.
Viet Cong
the Communist-led forces fighting the South Vietnamese government. The political wing was known as the National Liberation Front, and the military was called the People's Liberation Armed Forces. Both the NLF and the PLAF were directed by the People's Revolutionary Party (PRP), the southern branch of the Vietnamese Communist Party, which received direction from Hanoi through COSVN, which was located in III Corps on the Cambodian border. After 1968, as negotiations began in Paris, the NLF established the Provisional Revolutionary Government.
Viet Minh
Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi, or the Vietnamese Allied Independence League. A political and resistance organization established by Ho Chi Minh before the end of World War II, dominated by the Communist Party. Though at first smaller and less famous than the non-Communist nationalist movements, the Viet Minh siezed power through superior organization skill, ruthless tactics, and popular support.
Vietnamese Popular Forces
South Vietnamese local military forces.
U.S. policy initiated by President Richard Nixon late in the war to turn over the fighting to the South Vietnamese Army during the phased withdrawal of American troops. The term was coined by Nixon's Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird to replace the policy of "de-Americanization" first enunciated by Nixon on June 8, 1969.
Vietnamese hamlet or village
South Vietnamese Air Force
Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, or Nationalist Party of Vietnam. A non-Communist movement formed in 1926, based on the doctrines of Sun Yat-sen. The VNQDD conducted the Yen Bai uprising in 1930, which began the modern struggle for Vietnamese independence. During World War II the VNQDD staged in southern China and were instrumental in gaining Ho Chi Minh's release from a Chinese prison to help with the resistance fight against the Japanese. Ho later broke with the VNQDD. By 1950, having lost their bases in southern China when Mao came to power, the VNQDD ceased to exist as an effective organization.
very seriously ill. Army designation for those troopers who may die without immediate and definitive medical care.
Vietnam Veterans of America. Veterans organization not affiliated with the Veterans Administration.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Organization formed by Vietnam veterans who gathered to protest American involvement in Vietnam.


as in "13 and a wake-up" -- the last day of a soldier's Vietnam tour.
walking wounded
wounded who are still able to walk without assistance.
Walter Wonderful
Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Water Taxi
small engine-powered boat with a sheltered passenger compartment. These native craft plied the major canals and rivers of Vietnam and provided a means of transportation from one village to the next.
web gear
canvas belt and shoulder straps for packing equipment and ammunition on infantry operations.
military phonetic for the letter 'W'
white bird
white mice
derogatory name for South Vietnamese police. The nickname came from their uniform white helmets and gloves.
white phosphorus
a type of explosive round from artillery, mortars, or rockets. Also a type of aerial bomb. The rounds exploded with a huge puff of white smoke from the hotly burning phosphorus, and were used as marking rounds or incendiary rounds. When white phosphorus hit the skin of a living creature it continued to burn until it had burned through the body. Water would not extinguish it.
wounded in action
widow maker
a MA
Willy Peter
white phosphorus
wood line
a row of trees at the edge of a field or rice paddy
World, the
the United States
white phosphorus


a type of ambush set up, shaped like the letter
xin loi
a Vietnamese idiom meaning "sorry about that"
executive officer; the second in command of a military unit
military phonetic for the letter 'X'


military phonetic for the letter 'Y'
the grid 100,000 meters by 100,000 meters square from the Universal Transmercator (UTM) Grid Zone 48Q. The UTM map of the world dispenses with latitude and longitude in favor of a system of metric coordinates (usually six digits) which enable the user of the map to specify a location within 100 meters.


derogatory term used to describe Vietnamese
Zippo raids
military operations which involved burning down Vietnamese villages. Often Zippo cigarette lighters were used to ignite the huts.
derogatory term for Vietnamese people
military phonetic for the letter 'Z'
a casualty report

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