J. D. Pendry
Arenít acronyms great?† Have you ever walked into a conversation and then leave it having no idea what was said to you.† It happens.† GIs are famous for them hell, we even have our own acronym dictionaries.† Why doesnít the Army have a language identifier for acronyms or teach them as a second language.† Not counting all of the official acronyms, soldiers made up some of their own over time, which usually express their feelings about life at a particular moment.
Soldiersí acronym creativity may have actually caused one business to modify its name or at least its corporate logo.† In the 1960s and 1970s, MAC (The Military Airlift Command) routinely chartered Flying Tiger Airlines for overseas flights Ė those that took soldiers to Vietnam for example.† Their logo was FTA.† Soldiers traveling in the direction of Vietnam referred to it as Fun Travel and Adventure.† Those returning home following their tours used other terms for FTA that were not enduring ones for the Army and eventually Flying Tiger Airlines became known simply as Tiger Airlines.† Now, did the GI modification of the FTA acronym cause Flying Tiger to change their name?† Who knows, but sticking to my method of no research and reliance on the validity of war stories, Iíll accept that it did.
When I worked at USAREUR DCSOPS in the 80s, there was a running joke about a new piece of equipment the Army was fielding at the time.† It was a tactical kitchen unit called the Field Utility Combat Kitchen Ė Improved Tactical.† The name and its acronym didnít last for obvious reasons.
Oh, thereís some more.† This one is used to describe a soldier, mission, piece of equipment or just about anything that one might be displeased with the condition of.† Itís FUBAR.† To keep the article PG13 rated, I will tell you that stands for Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition.† This is one of the great time saving acronyms developed by the improvising minds of soldiers.† I used it often when inspecting the barracks as a 1SG, a soldier knew that when his room or gear got a FUBAR rating from the 1SG it was not a good thing.† Another time saver was the All Fouled Up rating or AFU, which served the same purpose.† AFU was a slightly better rating than FUBAR but neither was good.
Another soldier favorite is SNAFU or Situation Normal All Fouled Up. (Keep the PG13 rating in mind.)† This is what one uses when no one really seems to know whatís going on.† Itís sort of a fog of war acronym.† Think of the movers who canít seem to find half of your HHG (household goods) or your car.† Or the Battalion PAC (Personnel Administration (or Assistance) Center Ė maybe, I think) that hasnít been able to correct your ERB or PQR during the last several years of SIDPERS updates.† OrÖthe DFAS office that suddenly canít find your EFT routing number.† No, Iím not sure what I just said, but thatís what a SNAFU is all about.
WHOGAS is not as common in some circles as it is in others.† Iíll give you a hint, however.† We are not talking chemical warfare here.† Let me see if I can steer you into this one.† Pretend youíre a 1SG.† You walk into the barracks and your CQ (Charge of Quarters Ė do we still have those?) tells you that the BN SDNCO just had his lips removed by the OD (Officer of the Day) because the flag detail showed up late and the CSM wants to see you in his office about it and, oh by the way, he said the police call area sucks so you respond with a pleasant morning WHOSGAS (Who Gives A S**t).
I do want to share another of my favorite acronyms with you, but first I want to take a few lines and discuss something else.† Iím not sure how many of you are familiar with the law regarding concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans disability compensation.† If youíre not familiar with it, you may want to educate yourself if perhaps someday you expect to retire from the service.† Let me explain it briefly.† During the late 1800ís (that would be the 19th century as opposed to the 21st which we are now in), 1891 to be exact, Congress discovered that some veterans of the Mexican War (1846-1848) were drawing both disability pensions and their retired pay.† They also discovered that some drew disability pay while they were still on active duty.† To fix this, they passed a law stating no military person could receive disability pension while either on active duty or retired.† In 1944, Congress modified this law by passing legislation that allowed retirees to receive disability compensation as long as they agreed to waive military retirement pay dollar for dollar.† Because of the 110 plus year-old law, military retirees are the only category of Americans that must give up retired pay to be compensated for physical disabilities incurred on while on active duty.† The Congressman, who is a disabled veteran, will not give up one red cent of his Congressmanís pension in order to receive disability compensation.
This year, many of us thought that Congress finally discovered a conscience and was going to repeal one of the most unfair pieces of legislation on the books.† Our confidence rose as 83 percent of our representatives and 73 percent of our senators, co-sponsored legislation to repeal the concurrent receipt laws.† It rose again as they repealed the legislation in the FY 2002 Defense Authorization BillÖ until we read the fine print.† The fine print explains that itíll be repealed as long as the President proposes legislation to fund it.† So, our elected representatives made themselves look good politically by cosponsoring legislation and sending it to the President knowing that he and the Department of Defense do not support it and very likely will not propose the needed legislation to fund it.† Frankly, I believe I trust those who didnít co-sponsor the bill more than those who did.† At least I know how they feel about it for sure.† Once again, the politicians did to disabled military retirees what they have been doing to soldiers and veterans for years.† They said BOHICA, or, Bend Over Here It Comes Again.
Copyright 2000 James D. Pendry All Rights Reserved