Alphabet Soup Glossary

Hey Folks, some of you probably know a lot more about this vocabulary than I do. Consider it a wikipedia type of thing and go ahead and correct it if you’re sure.  Also, if you can think of anything I’ve missed, can you let me know?  Thanks.

BIAP:  Baghdad International Airport

Black hawk helicopter: a military helicopter

Building 5 – The former Ba’ath part HQs under Sadam Hussein, now used by US and NATO forces.  Aka “Washington”.

CHU – Containerized Housing Unit. A giant shipping container that we all live in here.  About the size of a single wide and you almost always share with someone.  Pretty comfortable, outfitted with an AC/heating unit, a single bed, a wardrobe and bedside table.  CHUs can be ‘wet’ or ‘dry’.  A wet chu has bathroom facilities; a dry chu doesn’t.  So far, I’ve experienced only a dry chu.

Chinook: Large -Canadian made- helicopter that can seat about 30 people and take luggage.

Conus Replacement Centre. “Conus” refers to the US continent, i.e.continental US and is a place where all military and non-military personnel who are going abroad on a mission (or returning from one) have to pass through for readiness in theatre.  I found an explanation of the Fort Benning one and have included a link for anyone who wants the details of what it’s like.

COB: Contingency Operating Base (a military base which differs from a FOB but I don’t fully understand how): to place troops in battle formation

Deploy: to move into a position of readiness and availability

DFac: Dining Facility – usually large-vast cafeterias

Dyncorp:  The name of the company I work for

FIN: Foreign Social Insurance Number for non American citizens to be able to work for the American government

FOB: Forward Operating Base – a military base used to support tactical operations

Helo: abbreviation for helicopter

IED: Improvised Explosive Device (home made bomb)

IZ: International Zone (aka “Green Zone”).  The part of Baghdad that is heavily guarded by US troops – and, increasingly now, by Iraqi military.

Mayor’s Cell – military unit, akin to the mayorality of a small town, that handles facilities and infrastructure at a (temporary) base.

Mil Air: Military Airplane

MRAP: Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle

MWR – Morale, Welfare and Recreation (computers, games, books, pool tables, lounge areas, TVs & movies, etc.)

PX/BX – Post Exchange / Base Exchange.  A store where you can buy a variety of items from toothpaste to microwaves.  The small ones are like ill-equipped convenience stores; the big ones are like a walmart or Zellers.

R&R: Rest and Relaxation – vacation time

Streicher: The name of the US airforce base I’ve been assigned to, very near the northern town of Tikrit

TSIRT: Theatre Specific Individual Readiness Training – basically means training that prepares a person for the place they’ll be deployed to.

T-Walls: twelve-foot-high (3.7 m) portable, steel-reinforced concrete walls used for blast protection in Iraq and Afghanistan.

USF: United States Forces

USFI: United States Forces Iraq


About maurdian

I am a nomadic ESL teacher who, not surprisingly, travels and teaches English, largely at the same time.
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2 Responses to Alphabet Soup Glossary

  1. René says:

    Very useful! (I should probably teach some of these to the Sweihan boys.)

    One question, is Streicher pronounced “Striker”?

  2. maurdian says:

    Yup – you got it right! Feel free to pillage:-)

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