This isn’t a direct response to David Homsher’s query (that has already been handsomely taken care of by Stephen McCartney and John Robertson), but anyone with an ear for military slang might be interested in a 64-page booklet compiled by the military writer Col. Austin Bay: “Embrace the Suck: A Pocket Guide to Milspeak” (New York: Pamphleteer Press, 2007). Despite its size, this glossary contains a wealth of material dealing with the linguistic situation in Iraq. None of it has been bowdlerized and much of it is breezily funny. As far as I know, it is available only through the Internet at www.pamphletguys.com. The price is a modest four bucks.
My favorite work on the subject remains “A Dictionary of Soldier Talk” by the late Company Fellow Col. John R. Elting (assisted by Sgt. Maj. Dan Cragg and Sgt. 1st Class Ernest Deal; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1984), which contains a section on Navy and Marine slang. It appears to be out of print but copies are available at abebooks.com.
To Join the Company of Military Historians click here