18 terms only soldiers will understand

Soldier lingo has a tendency to reference things that only exist in the Army. Here are some terms outsiders probably don’t know.

Private News Network: The rumor mill or soldier gossip.

army term: PNN Private News Network Soldier lingo Army jargon

Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith

Grab some real estate: This is a command to get on the ground and start exercising, usually with pushups. It’s issued as a punishment for a minor infraction. The command can also be stated as, “beat your face.”

Army term: Grab some real estate for pushups

Photo: US Army by Markus Rauchenberger

LEG/NAP: Acronyms for any soldier who is not trained to parachute from airplanes. LEG, or low-entry ground soldier, is considered offensive. Non-airborne personnel, or NAP, is the accepted term. Most NAP are quick to point out that airborne soldiers, once they reach the ground, are little different from their peers.

army term: LEG/NAP national guard predeployment training

Photo: US Army Spc. Karen Kozub

Fister: An artillery observer. The term refers to the soldier being part of the Fire Support Team, or FiST. These soldiers direct cannon fire. The symbol of the observers is a fist clutching a lightning bolt.

army term: fister is Radio operator

Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. DeNoris A. Mickle

Related: This is what makes a ‘Fister’ so deadly

Beat feet: To move from your current location quickly.

army term: beet feet is to move quickly

Photo: US Army Sgt. Joseph Guenther

Don’t get wrapped around the axle: Refers to how vehicles can be halted or destroyed when something, like wire, wraps around the axle. It means a soldier needs to steer clear of the little problems and move on to the real issues.

army term: don't get wrapped around the axel

Photo: US Army Spc. Daniel Herrera

Azimuth check: Azimuth checks are a procedure in land navigation when a soldier makes sure they haven’t wandered off course. Outside of patrols or land navigation courses, azimuth check means to stop and make sure the current task is being done right.

army term: azimuth check Lensatic compass azimuth land navigation

Photo: US Army

“Acquired” gear: Equipment that may have been, but probably wasn’t, obtained through proper channels.

army term: acquired gear

Photo: US Navy HMC Josh Ives

Good Idea Fairy: Like the tooth fairy, except it creates work for junior soldiers. It suggests to officers and sergeants that they should grab the closest soldiers and make them do something like build new shelves, clean out a storage unit, or mow grass with office scissors.

army term: good idea fairy

Photo: Robert K. Baker

Why the sky is blue: Soldiers, even the noncombat ones, are trained starting in basic training that the sky is not blue because air particles transmit blue light. It’s blue because infantry soldiers are denoted by blue cords, discs, and badges, and God loves the infantry.

Army term: why the sky is blue

Photo: John Rives, Wikimedia Commons

Fourth point of contact: A butt. In Airborne Training, future paratroopers are trained to fall through five points of contact. First, they hit the balls of their feet, then they roll across the ground on their calf muscle, thigh, buttocks, and finally torso.

army term: fourth point of contact

Photo: US Army Spc. Michael MacLeod

Come up on the net: Communicate with your unit what is going on with your personal life or the mission.

army term: Come up on the net

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Joes: Slang term for soldiers, usually referring to the junior enlisted personnel. Can also be used as “Private Joe Snuffy” to refer to a single soldier generically.

army term: joes

Photo: US Air Force Senior Airman Micky M. Bazaldua

PX Ranger: A soldier who has a lot of unnecessary gear that they bought for themselves from a post exchange or other shop.

army term: PX Ranger Army

Photo: US Army Spc. Elisha Dawkins

CAB Chaser: Noncombat soldiers who try to get into a minor engagement to earn a combat action badge. They generally do this by volunteering for patrols and convoys where they aren’t needed.

army term: CAB chaser

Photo: US Army Sgt. Russell Gilchrest

Beat your boots: A physical exercise. A soldier stands with their legs shoulder-width apart, hands on hips. They then lower at the waist, hit their boots or shoes with their hands, return to the start position, and repeat. Generally used for punishing minor infractions.

army term: Beat your boots

Photo: US Military Academy by Mike Strasser

Dash ten: The user manual. Army publications are all assigned a number. Technical manuals, the closest thing to a civilian user/owner manual, are usually assigned a number that ends in “-10.”

army term: dash 10

Photo: US Army

Sham shield: Derogatory name for the rank of specialist. Specialists are expected to shirk some duties and the symbol for a specialist is shaped like a small shield.

army term: Sham shield

Photo: US Army