Blogging your homework – military terms

There is a maxim that when you do a whole load of research about amusing military stuff, you should blog it for other people to read. This is, of course, something I just made up. That doesn’t make it a bad idea though.

I’ve been watching a lot of war movies lately and a fair few silly and satirical comedies. As a result, my head was in the right place to revisit a story I had ground to a halt on about a really inept band of space marines. I’m not really sure how a space military might work so I’ve borrowed heavily from the army.

The “star” of this story is Jonathan Lucien Montgomery of Unit Treble-Six. A merry prankster who tends to upset commanding officers. This is his introduction.

It wasn’t that Jonathan Lucien Montgomery was a stupid man but his brain saw less use than a bible at an atheist’s convention. Jon, as he preferred to be called, had been demoted so many times that the admiralty had invented new extra-low ranks for him. He was currently Private, Twelfth Class. Technically, even the doors out-ranked him.

Jon is the least terrible member of his unit and has to help them complete a mission designed to be impossible. The problem the admiralty have with Unit Treble-Six is that no matter where they send them they have a nasty habit of coming home again afterwards.

I figured I would use some realistic sounding military terms which the unit could totally fail to truly understand.

Gear adrift is a gift

This is a saying that basically means that it is completely your own fault if you happen to leave your kit unattended and someone else acquires it. The person who takes your unattended stuff has not stolen it. Instead, they have “tactically acquired” it.

In the case of Jon, he miss-applies this saying to a resupply satellite which the unit will loot when I write that bit.

Nut to butt

A term that means that things are a bit cramped. It quite literally means put your nuts on the butt in front of you. This term is used in the second chapter when the squad tries to cram themselves into a tiny room for a briefing. Due to an absence of gravity they also experience crotch to face.

Pucker factor

A term used to rate how frightening a situation is. As in just how tightly it will make your backside pucker up. I have no idea where I will use it but I really want to. If your military unit has to deal with a high pucker factor things might not being well.


This is an all-purpose military term, generally of contempt. It is reserved for those soldiers who look out for themselves but not their mates. Jack might apply to any number of things. According to my very limited research, the most heinous crime is the “jack brew” – making yourself a cup of tea without making one for anyone else.


This is a term adopted by the army as far back as World War I. It refers to kit, food, and equipment that is tucked away in someone’s room or other stash point and not in the Mess or Quarter Master’s store where it’s probably meant to be. The idea being that this is kept as a personal reserve in case the main supply runs out. If everyone is maintaining a buckshee store hen it is no wonder things run out.

Dynamic truth

The idea here is that even as orders are being handed down to the lowest ranks, the facts on the ground have changed. As have the plans of the officers. You may need to be adaptive. Also expect a new plan any moment now.

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