October 07, 2010
At Overland, Chris Flynn posts on current US military slang, mostly gleaned from the Sebastian Junger documentary Restropo. It's interesting to see that apparently American soldiers are still using World War 2 slang FUBAR and SNAFU, and the similar FUGAZI - "Fucked Up, Got Ambushed, Zipped In (as in, zipped into a body bag)" - dating from the Vietnam War. More recent slang includes a few SF references:
Ackbar defines a person who acts heroically in a trying situation, keeping their head to organise others. (This is based on the character of Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi, who leads the Rebel Alliance in an assault against the Death Star.)... Death Blossom is used to describe how Afghani Army forces react in combat, by shooting their weapons randomly in all directions rather than aiming at a specific target, often resulting in friendly fire casualties. (This expression has its provenance in the 1984 science fiction movie The Last Starfighter, in which a video game expert is recruited into an alien space fleet to fight an invading armada. ‘Death Blossom’ is his last resort weapon used to take out as many of the enemy as possible.)I'm reminded of the scene in Ian McDonald's Kirinya where the protagonists observe American troops communicating in a guttural language they can't quite place until someone realises it's Klingon.