Friday, February 20, 2009

Getting a handle on Army acronyms – or GAHOAA

In honour of Red Friday, the following is an article from Army News on Army Acronyms. This was a tremendous help in translating a lot of what our son, Cory said during his normal conversations. Before this article, his dad and I nodded a lot, but had no idea what he was saying.

CFD Dundurn, Saskatchewan – "Private! I need you to go up to the NOB from the FOB and find the 2IC. Then get an Int Sit Rep from the FOO at OP on the OPFOR ASAP."

"Roger that, sir! By the way, your five-hole is open, sir!"

"Private! MYOB!"

If you understood that conversation, you must be in the army – and maybe a hockey fan. If you are completely confused, you have my sympathies. Until taking part in Exercise Prairie Defender 26 April to 3 May at 17 Wing Detachment Dundurn as embedded media, I was just as confused. Allow me to translate.

NOB is the Northern Operating Base at the training ground. This is where some of the soldiers taking part in the exercise are practising live fire artillery shooting.

FOB is the Forward Operating Base, a temporary main camp from which military campaigns are carried out.

2IC means Second in Command. While I didn´t meet the 2IC of the artillery range, I did speak to the Number Two of one of the big guns. Seven soldiers work as a team of bombardiers to operate these modern-day catapults. As I learned, you don´t approach a gun without first asking the Number One, or the team leader for permission.

Bombardier Jon Hede of the 20th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA allowed us members of the media to stand right behind his team´s C3 Howitzer, which can fire 105 mm rounds up to 13 km away. The machine is the same design as 1936 American Howitzers - which Canada adopted in the 1950s and called C1s – except for slight improvements including a longer barrel and reinforced trails, or rear support posts, which absorb the recoil.

To my surprise, the guns are not computerized like every other modern machine: the mechanisms to adjust elevation and range are still manually-operated by wheels and carpentry-like levels. In fact, the gun we were looking at was a 1998 rebuild of one of the original 1950s C1s. A perfect example of "if it ain´t broke, don´t fix it."

Int Sit Rep means Intelligence Situation Report, and Op For is Opposing Force. In battle, such a report could be obtained from a FOO, or Forward Observation Officer who travels far ahead with the infantry, scoping out the land, looking for the Op For. The FOO would radio back from the OP (Observation Post) to the CP (Command Post) where the CO (Commanding Officer) would radio the Number One of each gun. The Number One of each gun would then adjust their aim accordingly, much like medieval archers who would fire at the enemy over the heads of the cavalry and infantry.

Speaking of cavalry, we rode along with them in the afternoon. Instead of knights on horses with lances, machine gunners fire 7.62 mm rounds from C6 machine guns from rotating turrets of Mercedes Benz G-wagons, also called LUVW (Light Utility Vehicle Wheeled).

Periodically, Range Safety Officer, Captain Cameron White, allowed me to get out of the G-Wagon to take pictures of gunner Corporal David Craig of the Saskatchewan Dragoons as he fired at pop-up targets.

After the exercise the officers and soldiers gathered for an AAR (After Action Review) to give and get feedback on the exercise. "Target acquisition was a little slow," said Warrant Officer Doug Roy, but apart from that, the gunners and drivers did well.

So let´s see what we learned today. Here´s a sample for you to translate:

"Private! Take that LUVW to the NOB and tell the CO to get an Int Sit Rep from the FOO on the Op For. Then return to the CP for an AAR."

Christine Mazur is a Creative Communication Student at Red River College and was embedded as media in Exercise Prairie Defender.

Article by Christine Mazur
Photos by: Corporal Bill Gomm

Project Number:08-0564


  1. My son was in the Army too. He used to "quiz" me when he came home on leave. One time he suggested I learn all the acronyms he had to learn. BTW (by the way) I informed him I already knew all the acronyms I planned to learn. EOD (end of discussion)

  2. Goodness, Cory didn't mention a quiz. Ha, he better not!

    When he talks, I just nod politely. lol


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