Friday, September 2, 2016

A Lesson in Military Jargon, Lesson 1

If you're a vet, you no doubt have used a ton of phrases and words with your civilian friends that makes them wonder what you're talking about. Jargon is a military tradition going back centuries.

This week on Stone Soldiers, we're going to talk about WMDs and the USAF.

Sometimes it's easier to spit out a couple of words over the radio, then a long explanation of what's going on. When it comes to WMDs and Priority Resources, the USAF has a whole series of mini phrases to use to explain the seriousness of a situation, quickly. 

Broken Arrow 
More than just a John Travolta/Christian Slater movie from 1996, the term Broken Arrow is used for any accidental event that involves nuclear weapons, warheads or components. And which doesn't create the risk of nuclear war. In the aforementioned movie, a Broken Arrow happens when a bomber crashes with two live nukes on board--causing a serious pucker-factor throughout the chain of command. 

Covered Wagon
Not just confined to Nukes, a Covered Wagon covers an event when there's an unusual incident affecting protection level one two or three resources. The USAF classifies resources as Priority 1, 2 or 3, with 1 being the most rare, special of resources. If Christian Slater caught John Travolta messing with their bomber before taking off, he might have declared a Covered Wagon
Dull Sword 
This one is for reports of minor incidents involving nuclear weapons, components or systems, or which could impair their deployment. Maybe when a runway is unoperable? Or there's no pilots for an alert bomber?

Bent Spear 
For nuclear weapons, warheads, components or vehicles transporting nuclear material that are of significant interest, if there's a violations or breaches of handling and security regulations. I guess this would be like a NEST team transporting nukes cross-country in one of those unmarked semis stopping at Bestbuy to pick up a copy of Broken Arrow to watch in-transit. 

Empty Quiver 
The seizure, theft, or loss of a functioning nuclear weapon. E.g., when Travolta stole the two nukes with the help of Howie Long and his team of traitors. 

The neutrons have hit the fan, or at least the Uranium. Nucflash refers to a detonation or possible detonation of a nuclear weapon which creates a risk of an outbreak of nuclear war. Like when Travolta triggered his stolen nuke underground. 

Faded Giant 
An event involving a military nuclear reactor or other radiological accident not involving nuclear weapons. For example, McClellan AFB in Sacramento, California had a cool neutron imaging machine back in the 1990s. An airplane would be rolled into a hangar and basically x-rayed, to determine the internal structure of the wings. They were looking for rot in the honeycomb, I was told. The imager was fed by a small, four-rod reactor that fit inside a building not much larger than your average high school gymnasium. Say the water shielding the rods all drained out, allowing radiation to spill out onto the base--that would be a Faded Giant

Got some military-speak you want defined? Got one you'd like to define, email us at DETACHMENT1039 [AT] GMAIL [dot] COM.

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