Can You Match the Acronym to the Military Branch?

By: Deborah Beckwin
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Whenever you join a big organization, you're likely to encounter a few acronyms (e.g., If you've ever watched Office Space, remember those TPS reports?). And the U.S military, with more than 2 million servicemembers, is definitely one big organization with acronyms galore.

Some acronyms you're already familiar with, like "snafu." The cleaner way to say this is "situation normal, all fouled up" (with a stronger word for foul). "FUBAR" is also from the military (fouled up beyond all recognition, or repair). There are a few more acronyms that have to do with "foul," but we won't be including them in this quiz.

One thing to note about military acronyms is that the NATO phonetic alphabet is often used to spell out words. With the acronym BF, you would instead say "Bravo Foxtrot." Either way, it means "ready for action." And the NATO phonetic alphabet is a way to sidestep stronger language, such as the now very common acronym from texting and online, WTF, which would be said as Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. 

So you probably already know at least three military acronyms! Let's see if you know any more of them. Have fun and good luck with this quiz!


Which branch of the military uses the term BAMCIS?

In the United States Marine Corps (USMC), BAMCIS stands for the six steps of troop-leading. 1) Begin planning. 2) Arrange recon. 3) Make recon. 4) Complete planning. 5) Issue orders, 6) Supervise. Usually, when a task is successfully completed, a Marine will say BAMCIS.

In what military branch does LTDB come from?

In the United States Navy (USN), LTDB stand for "living the dream, baby." It's a sarcastic remark about being in the Navy.

Which military branch has a NAP?

In the United States Army (USA), NAP stands for non-airborne personnel. This means these soldiers aren't trained to parachute from airplanes. They used to be called LEG (low-entry ground soldier), but that's a more offensive term.

Every military branch has a place where service members eat together. What branch uses the acronym DFAC?

So instead of the mess tent or the chow hall, you have the DFAC. That's the USAF acronym for "dining facility."

Which military branch uses the acronym LRS-C?

LRS-C stands for long range surveillance company. This group heads up special recon forces within an intelligence group. Each platoon has a speciality: desert/mountain, water, and HALO (parachuting at a low altitude).

A "FOD walk" can be found in which branch?

FOD stands for foreign object debris. Servicemembers in the USAF will go on a "FOD walk" to remove FOD from the flight line, or where aircraft are parked and serviced.

Which branch of the U.S. military uses ARMY as an acronym to tease another branch of the military?

The military branches like to tease each other about who is the best. For the USMC, ARMY stands for "Ain't Ready to be a Marine Yet".

In which military branch is the acronym, MARINE, used?

The Navy and the Marines work closely together, since the Marines do a lot of amphibious work. So two versions of MARINE are: "Marines Always Ride in Navy Equipment" and "Muscles Are Required Intelligence Not Essential."

Which branch of the military has an AMTRAC?

AMTRAC is short for AMphibious TRACtor. This doesn't refer to the train company, Amtrak. It's also what's called an LVT, landing vehicle, tracked, which brings cargo and vehicles from a ship to the shore.

Where in the military can you find FAST?

FAST stands for Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams, which are a special ops security force that works to fight against antiterrorist threats. They work with the Navy, the Marine Corps and other places (e.g., providing extra security at U.S. embassies).

In the armed forces, where will you find FAIPs?

In the USAF, a FAIP stands for First Assignment Instructor Pilot. After receiving their wings from pilot training, instead of receiving their first aircraft, they're sent to pilot instructor training and become instructor pilots. To be picked as an FAIP, you have to be in the top half of your class.

In which military branch was the IA program used?

IA stands for Individual Augmentation (or Augmentee referring to the person in the program). The Navy deployed sailors (individually) to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom from six to 14 months. Other terms for IAs were "being in the Narmy" (Navy & Army) or "Sand Sailors."

Which branch has a DBA?

If you're in the United States Air Force (USAF), you definitely don't want to be a DBA. That stands for DirtBag Airman. This service member is gross, lazy and doesn't really regard the rules or the Air Force code of conduct.

Where in the military can you find a MCPOO?

MCPOO is a Navy acronym for "Master Chief Petty Officer of the Obvious." So you could consider this as a Naval version of "Captain Obvious."

Which armed forces branch refers to non-judicial punishment as NJP?

The Army and Air Force refer to this as Article 15, while the Navy call it the admiral's mast or captain's mast. The Marines call non-judicial punishment, a sanction not requiring a court martial, as in NJP, or a ninja punch. Punishments include losing pay or getting a rank demotion.

Where would you most likely hear JARTGO?

JARTGO stands for "Just Another Reason To Get Out." Some sailors seem to have a sarcastic love/hate relationship with the Navy, since there are plenty of tongue-in-cheek sayings about leaving. But they aren't the only branch to have these snarky sayings.

TFOA is not a good thing, but which branch coined the acronym?

TFOA is a Navy term meaning "Things Falling Off Aircraft." It was created decades ago when the Navy realized that parts (including missiles!) were often falling off Navy aircraft. This is potentially dangerous when it occurs over populated areas vs. open ocean.

PJs are a part of which branch of the military?

The PJs (from parajumpers) are a special ops and air combat group belonging to the Air Force, formally called Pararescuemen. To become a PJ involves nearly two years of training and has the nickname of "Superman School."

CCF is not where you'd want to be. Which military branch has another name for this place?

CCF stands for Correctional Custody Facility, which is a minimum-security prison. The Army calls it Charlie's Chicken Farm. A soldier would be sent here via Article 15, a non-judicial punishment which does not involve the need of a court martial.

Which military branch is known to use the term ETS as "Echo Tango Suitcase"?

ETS officially means Expiration Term of Service, which refers to the completion of a soldier's service contract. Using Echo Tango Suitcase (instead of the NATO phonetic alphabet of Sierra) means this soldier does not intend to re-enlist.

Which armed forces branch uses COB in the way that many civilians do?

In the Army, COB means Close of Business, which means admin work and training ends. This is also known as "end of day," but COB is also a popular way for civilian businesses to talk about the end of regular business hours. In the Navy, COB means Chief of the Boat, the sailor on a Navy submarine who advises with the commanding officer and the executive officer.

In this military branch, CBs had an important role in WWII.

The CB's stand for Construction Battalions, with the longer name of United States Naval Construction Battalions. They're a part of the Naval Construction Force that goes by the more nautical name, Seabees. Because of the attack on Pearl Harbor, CBs were allowed to work on military bases but also fight back when needed, which civilians were legally barred from doing.

This branch of the armed forces uses the acronym SOTG.

The Marines have the SOTG, or Special Operations Training Group, which provides special ops for the Marines and other branches of the military. Courses include sniper training, reconnaissance and surveillance. and mountaineering skills.

Where will you most likely hear people talking about G-LOC?

G-LOC is an acronym for G-Loss of Consciousness. This happens with pilots endure sustained g-forces, which prompts a loss of oxygen to the brain. Pilots are trained to deal with high g-forces so they can prevent G-LOC, which includes being in a centrifuge and learning Anti-G Straining Maneuvers (AGSM).

Which military branch can you find a Prime BEEF?

Maybe this acronym made you hungry if you're a meat eater, but a Prime BEEF has nothing to do with food. It's a civil engineer unit of the Air Force (meaning Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force). The Prime BEEF provides a number of support services if an emergency arises.

In which armed forces branch will you find MCCS?

MCCS stands for the Marine Corps Community Services. It's a group of programs that help support Marines and their families.

What branch of the military has a specific use for LOM, which is NOT Legion of Merit?

In the Army, LOM means lack of motivation, and it's usually used for those who voluntarily drop out of Ranger School. Students who choose to drop out have to sign a letter or memo stating that they had LOM, which will prevent them from re-enrolling in the future.

This military branch developed a parachuting technique known as HALO.

HALO stands for high altitude, low opening. A parachutist will open the parachute closer to the ground after jumping out of a plane. There's also HAHO, high altitude, high opening, where a parachutist will open the parachute just a few seconds after jumping.

In what armed forces branch does the MA rating go back to the American Revolutionary War?

MA stands for Master-at-arms in the Navy. They provide law enforcement and protection for the Navy. This was a British invention (with sheriffs at sea), but the Master-at-arms became an official part of the Navy in 1797, making it one of the Navy's oldest divisions.

If you're out in the field, you may see a CK used by what branch?

CK is the acronym for containerized kitchen. It's basically a mobile kitchen from where food can be cooked and served out in the field.

In what military branch do they work on their PLFs?

If you're a parachutist or paratrooper in the Army, you'll learn the proper and safe way to do a PLF, a parachute landing fall. The safer way to fall is to hit the balls of your feet and then throw yourself sideways while hitting the side of your legs, hip and then back.

Where can you find LOX?

The USAF uses LOX, or liquid oxygen, for oxygen systems in aircraft. And sometimes, people use it for cooling beer.

A service member of which branch of the military could be suffering from THS?

THS, "Too Hooah Syndrome," is a unique concern for the Army, When someone has supremely high Army standards and holds not only themselves but everyone else to those standards.

In which military branch can you find a SNOB?

This is a teasing acronym for submarine service members, meaning "Shortest Nuke on Board." It means that this person has shortest length of time left on the boat. And usually, they've enlisted once and do not intend to re-enlist.

If you watched TV between 1995 and 2005, you'll know this one. Which branch uses the acronym JAG?

JAG stands for Judge Advocate General Corps, which is the legal division of the Navy. Most of the corps is made up of Legalmen, paralegals who help Navy and Marine Corps lawyers.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes