Posted on Apr 11, 2014
SPC Cbrn Specialist
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The military has its own lingo, which can cause initial confusion to new soldiers, or soldiers not native to the US. Do you have any stories that involve someone with selective hearing, getting into trouble due to a misinterpretation of words?
Folks named Roger, Charlie or with the last names of Private or Major might have trouble at times knowing when to respond. Context is key, but something as simple as asking someone to "repeat" themselves might invoke a strong responsive dissertation on "Say again vs. Repeat"
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I remember a new soldier who was not native to the US, but was a University-trained Accountant, was more than confused when the team sergeant asked if he was "black" on water. He responded, "Yes I am black on water" proudly with his topped up canteens and full camelbak. He team sergeant thought he was being a smart-ass and told him to start pushing. Later on, I asked him why he said he was 'black' on water, his response was related to accounting; "Black is good, in accounting it means you are positive, red is bad. Just like Black Friday is a good day for retailers." Surely in his mind he was telling his team sergeant that he was topped up on water. Just a story that's stuck with me and I often use that for reference to make sure that I am on the same page with those I'm speaking to.

Posted in these groups: Communications-mastery Communications
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MSG Jose Colon
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DOD as a whole likes the use of acronyms to a falt.

Recently, I read an email that me, after 27 years army service and 1 civilian service could not understand. Even after spending 15 minutes on Google trying to find the acronyms meaning, I had no clue. Nobody likes to feel like a rookie. But, I email the guy and asked him what in carnation was he asking.

Never received an answe. Reminds me of the movie Renaissance Man with Danny De Vito when he asked the MP if he could buy a vowel.
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SGT CH-47 Helicopter Repairer
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Great reference, I love that scene.
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CW4 Larry Curtis
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Edited 4 y ago
Fireextinguishergrenade
Here is a good example of something getting lost in the translation...this may not be exactly along the lines of your querry but I thought it was worth interjecting. LOL.

On another note, I have served with two people with unique last names, one of which caused a multitude of confusion for many. At one point I knew a Staff Sergeant with the last name of Major...so he was then commonly referred to as Sergeant Major. There was nothing anyone could do about it either because he clearly wasn't impersonating a Sergeant Major. But you wanted to be careful about addressing him by his name and rank when you were within earshot of the CSM.

The other guy I knew with a unique last name was a PFC Steve Army. He had Army on the tags above both pockets of his fatigues. Not nearly as interesting as Sergeant Major, but still unique. :D
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SGT CH-47 Helicopter Repairer
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I recall a time, whilst stationed in Korea, we had an incoming soldier with the first name of Major. He was met at the bus depot by the Battalion Commander as it was policy to ensure the person picking up an incoming was at least the same rank or higher. So the LTC shows up to the hangar and says, here is your new SPC, so glad i could show him the ropes.
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