A sampling of terms that may appear in wartime stories:
Amphibian: A small craft that moves via propellers and wheels or air cushions on both land and water.
Barrage: Fired munitions that are designed to destroy an area rather than be aimed at a given target.
Command and control: The exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over forces in the accomplishment of a mission.
Detachment: Part of a unit separated from its main organization for duty elsewhere. Also, a temporary unit formed from other units.
Jump speed: The airspeed at which paratroopers can jump from an aircraft with comparative safety.
MRE: Meal ready to eat in the field.
Ordnance: Military supplies, including weapons, ammunition and combat vehicles. Also can refer to a service of the Army charged with procuring, distributing and safekeeping such supplies.
Point of no return: The point along an aircraft route beyond which it will not be able to return to base without refueling.
Q-message: A classified communication regarding navigational dangers, such as mined areas.
Residual forces: U.S. troops that are ready to go into combat but have been held in reserve.
Rules of engagement: The circumstances under which troops will initiate and/or continue combat.
Squad: The smallest Army unit, with as many as 12 soldiers; led by a sergeant.
Supporting fire: Fire delivered by supporting units to assist or protect another unit in combat.
War game: A simulation of a military operation involving two or more opposing forces using rules, data and procedures designed to depict a real-life situation.
Zulu time: During a military operation, all units operate according to the same time zone. The world is divided into 24 time zones, each designated by a letter of the alphabet. The "clock" at Greenwich, England, is used as the standard for many activities that cross time zones and is designated Z. Military time usually is stated in a 24-hour format. Thus 1830Z is pronounced, according to the phonetic alphabet, as 1830 Zulu.
Source: Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms; Knight Ridder research.
(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.