VIDEO: Army Slang
It is impossible to avoid acronyms. Regardless of your chosen profession, hobbies, life encounters you’ve accumulated knowledge that allows you to speak to your fellow compadres in a short-hand language that leaves outsiders standing-by scratching their heads. The Army is no different. Well, that’s a lie. The Army relies solely on acronyms. Always have, always will. I’ve produced a couple of documentaries with the Army and have run into more than one instance where the Army’s reliance on short-hand has painted me into a corner. Inserting voice over, or on-screen graphics that spell out, for instance, what an MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle) is. After a certain point I can only hope acronyms become a lot like statistics in that the viewer will just allow them to float on by and will pick up enough information from the context around the acronym.
In Bridging War and Hope the only points in which I felt the need to spell out an acronym in voice over came during an interview with Captain Patrick Foley. CPT Foley was talking about a specific village and their hesitance to accept advice from the DAIL (Department of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock). Many villages, he said, are happy with the ANA (Afghan National Army), they like the safety they provide, but on a whole they’re not interested in GIROA (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) support.
As a spoof, towards the end of my two-week embed with the ZADT (Zabul Agribusiness Development Team), 1LT Davin Fischer wrote a script and recruited three other soldiers to help us illustrate the power of the acronym.
Around the office I’ve tried to incorporate Charlie Mike as a way to wrap meetings…continue mission. It’s not working. Yet.