Abbreviations and Codes
All large organizations have their own terminology, or seemingly sometimes their own language. The American military establishment is certainly no exception. In fact, being so large and diverse, it has probably more unique terminologythan almost any other. First are the many abbreviations and initials for names of organizations, then there are the acronyms for just about everything, and also the many code words for operations.
Some of the acronyms and code words are included in the database table that is behind this page. A great many more are included in the sources that are linked below.
For initials, first there is GI., from World War II, originally meaning Government Issue, then as a noun meaning the soldiers, the GIs. Another example of abbreviations is the Navy and Marine Corps method of identifying the types of their aircraft squadrons. For example, VT first meant Torpedo Squadron (including VT8, the Navy’s Torpedo Squadron 8, which had all of its planes lost on a single raid during the Battle of Midway.) Modern VT squadrons are training squadrons. In World War II, training squadrons were identified as VN.
Then there is the current FYDP (fiedep), or the Five Year Defense Plan. More complicated are the acronyms, or a kind of shorthand, particularly in the Navy, such as DesRon for Destroyer Squadron and CinCPacFleet, for Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet. .A comprehensive dictionary of terms currently used by the U.S. military establishment is Joint Publication 1-02 (Dod Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms), prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. JCS Pub. 1-02
Another segment of the unique terminology is the code words for operations, probably the most famous of which is Operation Overlord, which was the code name for the invasion of Normandy in 1944. A very good source for information about the code words for operations in World War II is the U.S. Army’s own list. Army Code List
Aircraft Alerting Communications Electromagnetic Pulse
Airways and Air Communications Service
Army Acquisition Executive
Army Air Forces
Obsolete. Prior to reorganization of armed force in 1947. See also USAAF
Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command
Allied Air Forces Central Europe
Army Air Forces Engineering Command
Army-Air Force Exchange System (PX/BX)
Automated Air Facilities Information File
Army Air Field