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Items the military refuses to call by their proper names

A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. That's a lesson the military has taken to heart, changing the names for plenty of items that civilians all know by another name.


1. "100 mph tape" and "Tape, adhesive cloth, 2 in." are both Duct tape/Duck tape

Oddly enough, duct tape was originally a military item that the troops called "duck tape" for its ability to repel water. But, since "Duck tape" is now a brand name and duct tape was trademarked, the military calls its tape 100 mph tape. The rumor was that it could stick to things moving 100 mph.

Interestingly, airplane maintainers and race car crews eventually did need tape that could stick at well over 100 mph, and so they created speed tape. Speed tape is similar to duck tape in use, but it's much stronger both in terms of stickiness and tensile strength.

2. "Hook and loop fasteners" and "hook pile tape" are Velcro.

Photo: US Army

3. "Slide fastener (and tab thong)" is a zipper

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Rabensteiner

4. "Elastic retention strap" is just a rubber band.

5. Chem lights are glow sticks.

Photo: US Army Timothy L. Hale

6. Most candy in an MRE is called by a made-up name.

M&Ms are called pan coated discs, Skittles are fruit discs, and Combos are called filled pretzels or filled crackers.

7. Don't dare call uniform items by civilian names

Photo: US Army Maj. Meritt Phillips

Hats are covers or patrol caps. Rain jackets and waterproof pants are called wet weather gear or foul weather gear. The outer shirt on most combat uniforms is called the jacket or blouse.

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