If there’s one thing the U.S. military is dependable for, aside from projecting American power around the globe, it is producing a never-ending, bottomless supply of military acronyms.
It’s no exaggeration to say that acronyms literally make the military function.
But, intentionally or not, the military has turned out some acronyms that are pretty daggone funny, some of them capable of making you laugh out loud.
I’m bringing you a list of 16 of the most hilarious below. From the juvenile to the artfully incendiary, there’s something for everyone. 🙂
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Among the most well-known and oldest of the military acronyms, and one that’s used purely as invective.
Depending on who you ask, it stands for “Fouled-Up Beyond All Recognition” or “Fouled-Up Beyond All Repair”.
Also, you had better believe that the F in this one is usually substituted for something far more vulgar!
No, this is not a harebrained attempt to market incontinence pads to a new, masculine consumer sector.
MANPADS is a sort of half-acronym, or halfcronym, that refers to a “MAN-Portable Air Defense System,” very literally a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile, or SAM.
The very definition of cool, but people who aren’t in the know might think you’re caring for old folks if you tell them you work with MANPADS in the service.
This is a hilarious one that has unfortunately become so only recently.
The FAP stands for the Family Advocacy Program, an important initiative that assists service members, their families and their loved ones with the manifold challenges associated with being in the military.
A great thing, to be sure, but “fap” is also a new slang term for masturbation. It’s also an onomatopoeia; fap is the sound it makes when someone is doing the deed!
Don’t confuse this one for FAP, because it’s totally different in purpose, and also in its hilarious impact.
A FARP is a Forward Arming and Refueling Point, basically a place for helicopters to land and top off their tanks and grab more missiles and shells before heading back out on their mission.
But “farp” sounds an awful lot like fart, as anyone who’s ever worked at one of these locations will tell you. They tend to be constantly mocked over it!
If you’re in the service, you already knew this one was going to be on here. The COC is a nerve center for conducting combat operations, and it stands for Combat Operations Center.
But the acronym is pronounced exactly how it looks: cock! Maybe there’s someone out there who thinks of a male rooster when they hear it…
FNG is another purely slang acronym, one standing for “Frickin’ New Guy.” And news flash, the F doesn’t really stand for “frickin” if you get my drift.
I do try to keep it family-friendly around here. Anyway, to call someone an FNG is to let them know that they’re truly at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to seniority or reputation at a new base or in a new unit.
A long-running program being developed by Lockheed Martin, the HULC, or Human Universal Load Carrier, is a powered exoskeleton and hopefully the very first step in legitimate power armor.
More importantly, it’s pronounced like it looks, hulk! Now they can tell you to “hulk out with HULC”.
You’ve got to imagine that the people running these programs spend a lot of time and a whole lot of tax dollars coming up on a relevant but still catchy and intriguing acronym for these mega-million dollar projects.
BUFF is an endearing nickname that refers to the B-52 bomber, one of the largest and longest-serving airframes in the entire US military.
But BUFF itself is an acronym, standing for “Big Ugly Fat F***er”. It is definitely applicable to this ungainly and enormous aircraft, but one that aircrews use affectionately because of the plane’s sterling performance.
At first glance, this one isn’t too bad. It stands for Common Access Card. Basically a sort of military ID and sign-in card. The humor comes in when you imagine what it means if you think of it as having a sort of Bostonian accent. “Cack“. Ha ha!
It gets even worse when you consider that, and I swear I’m not making this up, a CAC typically gets inserted into a…
A VAG, standing for virtual access gateway, is a card reader tied to certain Department of Defense computer systems and terminals.
A member of the military might have to insert their CAC into the VAG to log themselves into the system. This is about as juvenile as it gets, but we aren’t finished yet!
I’m all but certain you already know what an MRE is. It stands for “Meal, Ready to Eat,” right? No!
It actually stands for “Meal Refused by Ethiopians,” implying that the quality of the food in these packaged rations is so bad even that people from that infamously and sadly starved country won’t eat it.
I don’t know, I never thought MREs were ever that bad as best I remember, but if soldiers aren’t griping about something they might be dead.
Have you ever been sad before? Bummed, even? You might be pretty sad indeed if you worked at a place as bland-sounding as the Navy’s BUreau of MEDicine and Surgery, or BUMED.
I know this is an acronym that seems like it has a few letters missing, but the Navy is the chief offender when it comes to chopping up parts of certain words for their acronyms and then discarding the rest.
PMS makes for unexplained emotional outbursts, sullen tempers, ruined dinners, and long, tense car rides. It also denotes someone as a professor of military science.
A dignified and important position in academia and military academies, but one that will subject the esteemed bearer to endless jokes from their students.
Another one of my favorite completely fabricated military acronyms. This one stands for “Bend Over, Here It Comes Again”.
Vaguely vulgar, and refers to any situation where something truly unpleasant is reoccurring. Maybe it’s a hated officer or superior, maybe it is an enemy ground attack aircraft.
Could apply to any number of situations!
I still can’t look at this one to this very day without giggling. Some things you just don’t get over.
Anyway, ASRAAM stands for “Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile.” A munition used by fighters and some helicopters to shoot down enemy aircraft when the fighting gets close in.
But when you look at the acronym, it’s invariably pronounced how it looks: ass-ram. Heh.
An ancient, venerable classic and another one that was entirely made up to describe military life basically in its entirety. SNAFU stands for “Situation Normal: All Fouled Up.” Alternately, it stands for “Situation Nominal: All Fouled Up”.
And once again, you know as well as I do that virtually no one says fouled up, preferring a far more vulgar f-bomb as standard issue in this one.
Interestingly, SNAFU has become so common that is has been de-acronymized, like laser, and you’ll see it written as “snafu” used to refer to a disaster or terrible mishap.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.