To be a warrior, you must talk like a warrior. And that means mastering the jargon du jour. Retired Army Reserve Col. Austin Bay, who's walked the walk and talked the talk, has compiled a handbook on current military slang, Embrace the Suck: A Pocket Guide to Milspeak; he talked to NPR Morning Edition hosts Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne about it yesterday.
An excerpt from the book:
Warrior slang accepts suffering as inevitable. It also says, "Buddy, you ain't in this alone." Take the acronym "MARINES." The wry definition is "Many Americans Running Into Never Ending S***." (That addresses a "corps" identity issue.) The Operation Iraqi Freedom phrase "embrace the suck" is both an implied order and wise advice couched as a vulgar quip.
And from the dictionary, a sampling of the slang terms that have come out of the Iraq engagement:
"Back to the taxpayers": Navy slang for where a wrecked aircraft gets sent.
Marineland: Slang for Iraq's Anbar province, which is largely patrolled by U.S. Marines.
Semper Fi: U.S. Marines motto, short for "Semper Fidelis," which is Latin for "Always Faithful."
Semper I: Pejorative Marine lingo for being overly concerned with one's own personal interests.
Semper Gumby: Another play on Semper Fi. Means "always flexible."
Semper Knife: Yet another twist on Semper Fi. Means "backstabbing."
Hat tip to MJF.
Update: Read more about Iraq War slang here.