These words, terms, and acronyms were selected by individuals reading the various articles in The Brown Shoes.   Sources of the definitions are noted.

Many of the following are idioms.  They may have different meanings to different individuals, in different regions, or different branches or units.  Various meanings are indicated.  Send in your suggestions or differences.

AvCad.  Aviation Cadet.  A title held by Naval pilot trainees from 1935 through 1946.  In 1946 this was replaced by the rank of Aviation Midshipmen (AvMidn).  In 1950 the title was changed to Naval Aviation Cadet.  Since _______ all Naval aviation trainees are commissioned officers, graduates of the Naval Academy or N.R.O.T.C.

Airdales.  An informal name for all Naval personnel attached to aviation.  Originally, and still mainly, identified with enlisted personnel.

AMVET.  A veterans association [from American Veteran].  Other associations: American Legion, VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars].

AFB.  Air Force Base.

A/C or a/c.  Contraction for aircraft.

AirLant or ComAir Lant.  Naval Air Atlantic or Commander, (Naval) Air Atlantic.

Alfa Strike.  In Viet Nam, a maximum effort air raid.

AIO.  Air Intelligence Officer.

AMB.  Ambassador.

Buckeye Flight Instructor.  Buckeye was the name of a Navy training plane, T-2B and T-2C.

BOQ.  Batchelor Officers’ Quarters.

Bogey.  Unidentified aircraft.

BuPers.  Bureau of [Naval] Personnel.

Cat Shot.  Catapult Shot (launch).

CNO.  Chief of Naval Operations.  The highest office in the Navy.  This office _________.  The CNO reports to the __________.

CNET.  Chief of Naval Education and Training.1

CPO.  Chief Petty Officer.

CQ.  Carrier Qualification.  Landings (now called traps) aboard a carrier to qualify or maintain qualification

Carqualling.  Performing Carrier Qualification (CQ) flights.

CO.  Commanding Officer.  XO – Executive Officer (2nd in command of an organization).

CDR.  Contraction for Commander.

CINCSAC.  Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command.

ComAirLant.  Commander, [Naval] Air Force, Atlantic.

ComFAirJax.  Commander, Fleet Air, Jacksonville.

CAG.  Commander, Air Group.  (Retained after Air Groups were designated Air Wings.)

Charlie Ten.  Charlie is the signal for an aircraft to enter the carrier landing pattern – followed by the time to enter.  “Charlie Ten” radioed to the flight leader means to expect to enter the landing pattern in ten minutes.

CIC.  Combat Information Center.

CAP Relief.  CAP – Combat Air Patrol.  A defensive flight is a specified area.  Relief – the flight taking over the patrol duties from a previous flight.

COMNAVFE Headquarters.  Commander, Naval Forces Far East.  The Headquarters were in Tokyo.

COD.  An acronym - Carrier On Board Delivery – for an aircraft - or a mission - specifically for transporting people or supplies to or from an aircraft carrier.

DFC.  Distinguished Flying Cross.

KIA – MIA.  Killed in Action; Missing in Action.  Other associated acronyms:  POW – Prisoner of War; DOW – Died of Wounds.

NROTC, sometimes ROTC.  Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.  Since ______ a Naval training course conducted in civilian colleges.  During WW II these college students were on active Navy duty in the NROTC and other Navy programs such as V-5 (aviation-oriented) and V-12 (fleet-oriented and Medical Corps-oriented).  Various colleges and universities are selected to voluntarily participate in the program.

NAS.  Naval Air Station.  Other acronyms: NAAS, Naval Auxiliary Air Station, a satellite of a NAS. OLF, Outlying Field – a training field, sometimes sod, used for student training.

VCDH.  Virginia Center for Digital History.  A unit under the aegis of UVa for the compilation and recording of historical events in digital form.

PAu.  A designation by the Office of Copyrights, Department of Commerce for __________.

NMPC.  Naval Military Personnel Command.

TRARON TEN.  Navy Training Squadron 10.  VT-10.

USN.  United States Navy.  Generally encompassing both regular and reserve components of the Navy, and, on occasion, the Marines and the Coast Guard.

NASP.  Naval Aviation Safety Program.

NASC.  Naval Air Systems Command.

MAMI.  Naval Aerospace Medical Institute.

SH [Sierra Hotel] Approval.  Something excellent.  It is used when one is not allowed to swear.  Now in Navy Vernacular.

SECNAV.  Acronym for the Secretary of the Navy.  A civilian cabinet rank responsible to conduct all of the affairs of the Department of the Navy2.  Reports to the Secretary of Defense. 
Secretaries 1948-1953;
9/18/47-5/24/49  John L. Sullivan - Harry Truman
5/25-7/31/51  Francis P. Matthews – Harry Truman     
5/31/51-1/20/53  Dan A. Kimball – Harry Truman
2/04/53-3/03/54  Robt. B. Anderson – Dwight Eisenhour

Tailhook Convention.  The Tailhook Association is an association—originally formed by those who had flown aboard aircraft carriers, but now encompassing others with aircraft carrier experience.

VADM.  Vice Admiral,  Others: ADM – Admiral.  RADM – Rear Admiral.

TAD.  Temporary Additional Duty.


Middie.  An informal term for Midshipman.


LSO.  Landing Signal Officer.

LTJG.  The acronym for Lieutenant Junior Grade.

Nisei.  A second-generation Japanese.

VR Contingent.  VR is the acronym for a Navy Transport squadron.

USNR.  United States Naval Reserve.

Stearman.  A bi-wing fabric-covered training aircraft built by Boeing Aircraft Company used by both Navy and Army Air Forces from 1937 through 1946.  Called N2S by the Navy, PT-13 and PT-17 by the Army Air Corps.  Later, surplus Stearmans (not Stearmen) were extensively used for agricultural work.


Syllabus.  A compilation of lesson Plans.

Fam Hops.  Familiarization flights.  Usually the first flight(s) at a new station

JCS.  Joint Chiefs of Staff.

ETO.  European Theater of Operations.  Other acronyms:  PTO – Pacific Theater of Operations; CBI – China-Burma-India (theater of operations).

NATO.  North American Treaty Organization.

Off Tackle.  ________ Operation.




LCDR.  Contraction for Lieutenant Commander.

LT.  Contraction for Lieutenant.

NARTU.  Naval Ait Reserve Training Unit.


SAC.  (Air Force) Strategic Air Command.

ORI.  Operational Readiness Inspection.

AAA Barrage.  Anti-Aircraft Artillery  (also Flak) – a large amount in a given area.

SAM Barrage.  Surface-to-Air Missile – a large amount in a given area.

Revetment.  An open construction, usually of earth or sandbags built to protect something – usually aircraft or artillery.

RADM.  Rear Admiral.

SACLANT Detachment.

PBY Training.  Flight training in Seaplane Patrol aircraft (PBY Catalina) built by Consolidated Aircraft Company

SNJ.  A low-wing, metal-covered basic trainer built by North American Aircraft Company.

Imbedded Arrowhead.  Idiomatic for a flak hit.

For’r’d Can.  Idiomatic for the forward (lead) destroyer of a task force.

Yo-Yo up.  Performing a dogfighting maneuver called a yo-yo.

Pipper.  The center dot of a gunsight.

Lead.  Pronounced “Leed.”  The angle the pipper is ahead of a target to compensate for target speed (duck hunters know all about this).

Wingman.  The second aircraft in a flight of two.  The wingman keeps a lookout and protects the leader.

Sieve.  The banner towed by an aircraft to be used as a target.

Vectored to Home Plate.  Vector – a bearing (heading).  Home Plate – Home Base.

Pointy-End.  The bow of a carrier.

Blunt-End.  The stern of a carrier.

Vultures’ Row.  The platform at the O-5 level on the carrier’s island where one can observe aircraft landing.

Spud Locker.  The platform on the aft of the carrier under the flight deck.


BuPers – Bureau of Personnel – now …..
Shangri La – US Carrier – CV-
NARTU – Naval Air Reserve Training Unit
AFB – Air Force Base
OP-05R [OP Air Reserve]
ComFairJax – Commander, Fleet Air, Jacksonville
VF – Fighter
CO – Commanding Officer
XO – Executive Officer
Gitmo or GTMO – A US Naval Base and airfield located on Guantanimo Bay, Cuba, on permanent lease from Cuba by the US since 1903
VU – Untility
F8 Crusader – Navy fighter, formerly F8U, manufactured by Chance-Vought Aircraft
ComAirLant – Commander [Navy] Air Force, Atlantic
Pueblo – USS Pueblo, Navy Electronic Surveillance Ship (AGER-2) captured by North Korea January 23, 1968
VF-661 – Navy Reserve Fighter Squadron
VF-781 – Navy Reserve Fighter Squadron (Pacemakers), integrated into regular Navy as VF-121 in February 1953
McNamara, Robert Strange – Secretary of Defense – 1961-1968
Med - Mediterranean
FCLP – Field Carrier Landing Practice
APU – Auxiliary Power Unit
APC – Acetophenetiden – a medical painkiller similar to aspirin