Written by Dabney B. on Friday, November 16th, 2012
“We’ve gotta head out at zero-dark-thirty just so we can hurry up and wait. Hopefully it won’t be that long before we haul off to the sandbox.”
That’s a good example of military lingo. “Zero-dark-thirty” is what warfighters call the period of time between midnight and 5 a.m., “hurry up and wait” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to how warfighters have to rush to a location and then wait for long periods of time, and “sandbox” is a popular nickname for Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the average US citizen, this USAF jargon is nearly incomprehensible – it’s like listening to someone with a speech impediment babble out non-words. Terminology like this can make it hard for civilians to connect to service members.
The DoD tries to fix that by maintaining a close relationship with the media. Every corporation needs to keep a good PR person on staff, and the military is no exception. Press releases and military blockbusters like The Hurt Locker and the aptly-named Zero Dark Thirty can give civilians an accurate picture of military life.
For new spouses of military warfighters, however, watching Top Gun just isn’t going to cut it. The folks at Langley Air Force Base have come up with a clever solution for new military spouses: a crash course in military lingo. This class, called Heart Link, teaches new wives and new husbands who have married an Air Force service member how to decipher their bizarre jargon. It also helps to inform these newlyweds of valuable resources that they can take advantage of around the base.
Robyn Wilson, who works with Heart Link, said “Ultimately, we want to empower these spouses. We want them to feel more confident in their role so they can be better wingmen to their spouses and so they feel good about what they contribute to the Air Force as a whole.”
When you’re dealing with things like nukes and state-of-the-art stealth fighters, complicated military acronyms kind of seem like a minor concern. In reality, though, language is vitally important because it helps to connect people.
For these spouses, deciphering this near-second-language can lead to a stronger marriage. For video game manufacturers and movie producers, proper lingo can help elevate a video game or movie to a true blockbuster.
Producers in the entertainment industry hire military consulting firms in order to get an accurate picture of military life, and language is no exception. Most people know that warfighter would call something “FUBAR” instead of “broken,” but getting into the nitty-gritty of how warfighters talk is a completely different matter. Do you know what radio chatter sounds like? Do you the types of things that pilots say to each other when they’re in the air? Well, if you’re making a video game or a movie, then you had better find out.
If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.