Generation Kill: A viewing guide

If you have HBO, I hope you’re watching the incredible miniseries Generation Kill. It’s as realistic a portrayal of combat in general and the war in Iraq specifically that you’re going to find.
The authentic dialogue is one of the series’ strengths, but average viewers often feel adrift in a sea of acronyms — or so I hear.
One of my reading pursuits has always been war memoirs, usually the variety written by enlisted men or junior officers.  So, this background gives me a bit of familiarity with the terms used in the show, and I can pick up a lot of it pretty quickly.

Of course, to make a viewing guide for the show, I had to do plenty of research. Some of these things may be explicitly explained in the show, but maybe you missed that episode.
Naturally, I may make mistakes. Let me know. I consider this a work in progress, especially seeing as how the series hasn’t completed its run yet. It will be updated and corrected as needed.
The goal is simply for it to be helpful

Here’s what I came up with.


AO – Area of Operations
ASR – Alternate Supply Route
CG – Commanding General
FAC – Forward Air Controller
LAV – Light Armored Vehicle
MRE – Meal, Ready-to-Eat
MSR – Main Supply Route
RCT – Regimental Combat Team
ROE – Rules Of Engagement
RTO – Radio-Telephone Officer
SOP – Standard Operating Procedures


Casevac – Casualty Evacuation
Danger Close – In artillery support, information in a call for fire to indicate that friendly forces are within 600 meters of the target.
SitRep – Situation Report
Oscar Mike – On the Move (though my first guess, “On Mission” is apparently its old-school meaning)

Vehicles, Aircraft and Equipment

5.56 – 5.56x45mm caliber, standard cartridge for NATO forces
A-10 – the “Warthog,” a fighter specializing in close-air support
C-4 – type of plastic explosive
M1 Abrams – main battle tank
M-40 – bolt-action, 7.62 mm caliber sniper rifle
MOPP Suit – Mission Oriented Protective Posture, suit consisting of mask, mask carrier, overgarments, gloves and overboots
NVG – Night Visions Goggles
RPG – Rocket-Propelled Grenade
SAW – Squad Automatic Weapon, M249 light machine gun, 5.56 mm caliber

Radio terminology

Actual – Radio call sign for a commander that denotes the actual commander is speaking instead of a radio operator. So, Godfather Actual is Lt. Col. Stephen Ferrando.
Interrogative – Precedes a question


Godfather – Lt. Col. Stephen Ferrando
Assassin – Cpt. Bryan Patterson
Hitman – Capt. Craig Schwetje, aka “Encino Man”
Hitman 2 – Lt. Nathaniel Fick
Hitman 3 – Cpt. Dave McGraw, aka “Captain America”


FNG – Fuckin’ New Guy
POG – Persons Other than Grunts, pronounced pogue, this is much like the REMFs (Rear-Echelon Mother Fuckers) that you come across in a lot of Vietnam literature.
Whiskey Tango – White Trash

Ed. Note: This is, and will continue to be, a work in progress. Go here to donate goods to the soldiers in Iraq, for free. It’s free; so do it.

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 8:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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