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Do You Know the Meaning of These Military Terms?
by Torrance Grey
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In the military, people speak differently from civilians -- and this has been the case from the earliest days of human warfare. War isn't like any other human activity, and it required a whole new vocabulary to describe the weapons, the tactics and the strategies. 

In modern times, the Pentagon (and similar bodies around the world) has been accused of using abstract language to cover up the brutal realities of war -- for example, calling civilian deaths "collateral damage" and torture "enhanced interrogation techniques." On the other end of the spectrum, the regular enlisted soldiers come up with their own colorfully honest slang: "bang out" for eject from an aircraft or escape a tight situation, or "on your six" to mean being pursued. Sometimes these terms slip into civilian language, like the overused "mission accomplished," or a "scorched-earth policy." Even when military terms don't enter into popular use, civilians learn them from books and movies. 

Which brings us to this quiz: 35 questions about the language of the military, whether official or colorful. Do you know what a "klick" measures or what you'd find in a canteen? (Other than water, we mean ... there's more than one kind of canteen). Good luck -- we promise if you do poorly, you won't have to drop and give us 20!


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