This page provides a quick reference for some of the military acronyms & terms you may hear in the interviews.

AIT – Advanced Individual Training (multiple locations)

ASVAB (pronounced AZ-vab) – Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery

CO – commanding officer

DFAC (pronounced DEE-fack) – dining facility

EOD – explosive ordnance disposal

FO – forward observer

IED – improvised explosive device

Klicks – kilometers

MACV (pronounced MAC-vee) – Military Assistance Command Vietnam

MOS – military occupational specialty

MRE – meal ready to eat

NCO – non-commissioned officer

NTC – National Training Center (located at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California)

OCS – Officer Candidate School (various branches/locations)

PTSD – posttraumatic stress disorder

ROTC (sometimes pronounced ROT-see) – Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (various college and university locations). The U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force maintain their own ROTC programs. Graduates of Naval ROTC programs have the option to serve as officers in the Marine Corps. The Coast Guard has no ROTC program.

RPG – rocket-propelled grenade

stop-loss – involuntary extension of a service member’s active duty service under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service date and up to their contractually agreed end of active obligated service

TBS – The Basic School, where all new US Marine Corps officers receive their basic training (located at Camp Barrett, Quantico, Virginia)

XO – executive officer


For other terms and more information, you may find the following sites helpful:

Acronym Finder Glossary of Military Acronyms Glossary of Military Terms & Slang

Vet Friends: Military Lingo (with option to view terms used during specific conflicts)

Wikipedia: List of U.S. government and military acronyms

Wikipedia: NATO phonetic alphabet