29 of the best politically incorrect slang terms about the Vietnam War

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Each generation of veterans has its own slang. The location of deployed troops, their mission, and their allies are all unique jargon that can be quite difficult to forget.


American troops in Vietnam (Pixabay)

This same vernacular is not always politically correct. It’s always worth watching the non-PC Vietnam War slang used by troops around the country, as it provides insight into the endemic and recurring issues they were facing at the time.

Here are some of the less PC terms used by US troops in Vietnam.

29 of the best politically incorrect slang terms about the Vietnam WarBarbecue of a “Zippo Monitor” in Vietnam. (Wikimedia Commons)

Barbecue – Armored cavalry units requesting napalm on a location.

Bong Son Bomber – Giant sized joint or marijuana cigarette.

Breaking Starch – Reference to dressing with a new set of dry cleaned or heavily starched mesh.

Charles – Formal for “Charlie” from the phonetic abbreviation “Victor Charlie” from Viet Cong.

Charm School – Initial training and orientation on arrival in the country.

Cherry – Designation for a new replacement of States. Also known as FNG (f * cking new guy), fresh meat or new citizens.

Coka Girl – a Vietnamese girl who sells everything but “boom boom” to GIs. “Coka” comes from the Vietnamese pronunciation of Coca-Cola, and “boom boom” can be left to your imagination.

Disneyland Far East – US Military Assistance Command Headquarters Building, Vietnam. It comes from “Disneyland East”, aka the Pentagon.

Donut Dolly – Women of the American Red Cross.

29 of the best politically incorrect slang terms about the Vietnam War
Donut carts. (Extract from “Cherries: a novel about the Vietnam War”)

Fallopian Tubes for Inside Tank Turrets – Stuff used by tankers to send cherries on a wild goose hunt

Flower finder – From Vietnamese newspapers; describing men looking for prostitutes.

Chiefs – Troops who have used illicit drugs such as marijuana.

Ho Chi Minh Road Sticks – Vietnamese sandals made from old truck tires.

29 of the best politically incorrect slang terms about the Vietnam War
Ho Chi Minh road poles

Idiot Stick – Either a rifle or the curved yoke used by Vietnamese women to carry two baskets or buckets of water.

Indian Country – Area controlled by Charlie, also known as “Bush” or “Sh * t”.

Juicers – Alcoholics.

Little People – Radio code for ARVN soldiers.

Mad Minute – Order for all bunkers to shoot at their foreheads for one minute to test guns and harass the enemy.

Marvin l’Arvin – Stereotypical soldier of the South Vietnamese army, similar to a Schmuckatelli. The name comes from the shortcut of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam – ARVN.

Number-One GI – A troop that spends a lot of money in Vietnam.

Number-Ten GI – A troupe that barely spends any money in Vietnam.

Ok Sahlem – Term that American soldiers had for the children of villagers begging for menthol cigarettes.

Real life – also known as civilian life; before the war or before conscription.

Remington Raider – Derogatory term, like modern day “Fobbit”, for anyone who uses a typewriter.

Re-Up Bird – The Blue Eared Barbet, a jungle bird whose song resembles “Re-Up”.

29 of the best politically incorrect slang terms about the Vietnam War
“Squaaaaak! Talk to your retention advisor! Squaaaaaaak! “

Seek and Avoid – A derogatory term for a fully ARVN mission.

Voting Machine – The nickname given to ARVN tanks because they only come out during a coup.

Zippo Raids – Burning of Vietnamese villages. Zippo lighters were documented by journalist Morley Safer, seen setting thatched-roof huts ablaze.


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