Abbreviations and Glossary of Operations, Code Names, and Projects

List of Abbreviations

Glossary of Operation Names, Code Names, and Project Names



A1C Airman First Class

A2C Airman Second Class

AAA Anti-aircraft Artillery

AB Air Base

ABCCC Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Centre

ABS Air Base Squadron

ABW Air Base Wing

ACCS Airborne Command and Control Squadron

ACG Air Commando Group

ACS Air Commando Squadron

ACW Air Commando Wing

AD Air Division

AD1 Aviation Machinist’s Mate Petty Officer First Class

AD2 Aviation Machinist’s Mate Petty Officer Second Class

AD3 Aviation Machinist’s Mate Petty Officer Third Class

ADC Aviation Machinist’s Mate Chief Petty Officer

ADF Automatic Direction Finder

ADJ Aviation Machinist’s Mate (Jet Engine Mechanic)

ADR Aviation Machinist’s Mate (Reciprocating Engine Mechanic)

AE2 Aviation Electrician’s Mate Petty Officer Second Class

AEAN Aviation Electrician’s Mate Airman

AEW Airborne Early Warning

AEW&C Airborne Early Warning and Control

AFB Air Force Base

AFC Air Force Cross

AM2 Aviation Metalsmith Petty Officer Second Class

AN Airman (US Navy)

ANG Air National Guard

APS Aerial Port Squadron

ARM Anti-radiation Missile

ARRG Air Rescue and Recovery Group

ARRS Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron

ARRW Air Rescue and Recovery Wing

ARS Air Refuelling Squadron

ARS Air Rescue Squadron

ARVN Army of the Republic of Vietnam

AS Attack Squadron (USAF)

ASW Anti-submarine Warfare

AT1 Aviation Electronics Technician Petty Officer First Class

AT2 Aviation Electronics Technician Petty Officer Second Class

AT3 Aviation Electronics Technician Petty Officer Third Class

ATN Aviation Electronics Technician (Navigation)

AWADS Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System

AX Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Technician Petty Officer

BARCAP Barrier Combat Air Patrol

BDA Bomb Damage Assessment

BMC Chief Boatswain’s Mate

BS Bombardment Squadron

BS(P) Bombardment Squadron (Provisional)

BW Bombardment Wing

BW(P) Bombardment Wing (Provisional)

CAG Commander Air Group

CAP Combat Air Patrol

Capt Captain

CBU Cluster Bomb Units

CCK Ching Chuan Kang AB

CCTS Combat Crew Training Squadron

CCTW Combat Crew Training Wing

Cdr Commander

CDS Container Delivery System

CIA Central Intelligence Agency

CILH Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii

CINCPAC Commander-in-Chief Pacific

CMSgt Chief Master Sergeant

CO Commanding Officer

COD Carrier On-board Delivery

Col Colonel

CSG Combat Support Group

CVSG Anti-submarine Carrier Air Group

CVW Carrier Air Wing

Det Detachment

DFC Distinguished Flying Cross

DMZ Demilitarized Zone

DOW Died of Wounds

DPAA Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

DPMO Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office

ECM Electronic Counter-measures

ELINT Electronic Intelligence

Ens Ensign

EWO Electronic Warfare Officer

FAC Forward Air Control or Controller

FCS Fighter Commando Squadron

FG Fighter Group

FIS Fighter Interceptor Squadron

FIW Fighter Interceptor Wing

FLIR Forward-looking Infra-red

FS Fighter Squadron

FTW Flying Training Wing

FW Fighter Wing

GCA Ground Controlled Approach

GCI Ground Controlled Interception

GRADS Ground Radar Aerial Delivery System

H&MS Marine Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron

HC Navy Helicopter Combat Support Squadron

HU Navy Helicopter Utility Squadron

IFF Identification, Friend or Foe

JATO Jet Assisted Take Off

JCS Joint Chiefs of Staff

JPAC Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command

JPRC Joint Personnel Recovery Center

JTF Joint Task Force

JTF-FA Joint Task Force – Full Accounting

KIA Killed in Action

KWF Killed While Flying

LAPES Low-altitude Parachute Extraction System

LGB Laser-guided Bomb

LLTV Low-light Level Television

LNRS Limited Night Recovery System

LORAN Long-range Aid to Navigation

LS Landing Site

LSO Landing Signal Officer

Lt Lieutenant

Lt(jg) Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Lt Cdr Lieutenant Commander

Lt Col Lieutenant Colonel

LZ Landing Zone

MAC Military Airlift Command

MACVSOG Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group

MAG Marine Aircraft Group

MATS Military Air Transport Service

MAW Marine Aircraft Wing

MCAS Marine Corps Air Station

MIA Missing in Action

MiGCAP MiG Combat Air Patrol

MSgt Master Sergeant

MTU Marine Task Unit

NAS Naval Air Station

NFO Naval Flight Officer

NKP Nakhon Phanom RTAB

NORAD North American Air Defense Command

NVA North Vietnamese Army

OG Operations Group

OL Operating Location

PACAF Pacific Air Force

PARC Pacific Air Rescue Center

PCS Permanent Change of Station

PJ Pararescue Jumper

POL Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants

POW Prisoner of War

RAF Royal Air Force

RDF Radio Direction Finding

RESCAP Rescue Combat Air Patrol

RHAW Radar Homing and Warning

RIO Radar Intercept Officer

RS Reconnaissance Squadron

RTAB Royal Thai Air Base

RVAH Navy Heavy Reconnaissance Attack Squadron

RW Reconnaissance Wing

SAC Strategic Air Command

SAM Surface-to-air Missile

SAR Search and Rescue

SAS Special Activities Squadron

SATS Short Airfield for Tactical Support

SEA Southeast Asia

SEAL Sea, Air, Land (commando)

SEATO Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation

SFC Sergeant First Class (Army)

Sgt Sergeant

SIGINT Signals Intelligence

SMSgt Senior Master Sergeant

SOS Special Operations Squadron

SOW Special Operations Wing

SRS Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron

SRW Strategic Reconnaissance Wing

SS Security Squadron

SSgt Staff Sergeant

STOL Short Take Off and Landing

SW Strategic Wing

TAC Tactical Air Command

TAC(A) Tactical Air Controller (Airborne)

TACG Tactical Air Control Group

TARCAP Target Combat Air Patrol

TAS Tactical Airlift Squadron

TASG Tactical Air Support Group

TASS Tactical Air Support Squadron

TAW Tactical Airlift Wing

TBG Tactical Bombardment Group

TBS Tactical Bombardment Squadron

TCG Troop Carrier Group or Tactical Control Group

TCS Troop Carrier Squadron

TCW Troop Carrier Wing or Tactical Control Wing

TDY Temporary Duty

TEWS Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron

TF Task Force

TFR Terrain-following Radar

TFG Tactical Fighter Group

TFS Tactical Fighter Squadron

TFW Tactical Fighter Wing

TG Tactical Group

TRIM Trails, Roads, Interdiction Multisensor

TRS Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

TRW Tactical Reconnaissance Wing

TSgt Technical Sergeant

USAAC United States Army Air Corps

USAAF United States Army Air Force

USAF United States Air Force

USAFE United States Air Force in Europe

USCG United States Coast Guard

USMC United States Marine Corps

USN United States Navy

USS United States Ship

VA Navy Attack Squadron

VAL Navy Light Attack Squadron

VC Viet Cong

VF Navy Fighter Squadron

VFP Navy Light Photographic Squadron

VFR Visual Flight Rules

VMA Marine Attack Squadron

VMA(AW) Marine All-weather Attack Squadron

VMCJ Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadron

VMF(AW) Marine All-weather Fighter Squadron

VMFA Marine Fighter Attack Squadron

VMGR Marine Aerial Refueller Transport Squadron

VMO Marine Observation Squadron

VNAF Vietnamese Air Force (South Vietnam)

VP Navy Patrol Squadron

VPAF Vietnamese People’s Air Force (North Vietnam)

VQ Navy Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron

VR Navy Fleet Logistics Support Squadron

VRC Navy Tactical Support Squadron

VSF Navy Anti-submarine Fighter Squadron

VW Navy Fleet Early Warning Squadron

WO1 Warrant Officer 1st Class

WSO Weapons Systems Officer (navigator)

WWS Wild Weasel Squadron

YM Yeoman Petty Officer

1Lt First Lieutenant

2Lt Second Lieutenant


Able Mable

RF-101C photographic reconnaissance detachments based in Thailand and South Vietnam for operations over Laos

Arc Light

SAC tactical B-52 operations in Southeast Asia prior to Linebacker II

Barrel Roll

Air interdiction campaign in northern and central Laos in support of Royal Lao operations against Pathet Lao and NVA forces

Bat Cat

EC-121R ELINT aircraft

Bell Tone

USAF air defence detachment at Don Muang RTAB commencing 1961

Big Eye

USAF EC-121 airborne warning and control aircraft (later called College Eye)

Black Spot

Modified C-123K with sensors and weapons for night interdiction missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail


USAF C-130 flareship operations

Blue Tree

US photographic reconnaissance operations over North Vietnam

Brown Cradle

Electronic warfare modification package for EB-66 aircraft


C-123 and C-130 flareship operations

Carolina Moon

Operation by a special C-130 detachment to bomb the Thanh Hoa bridge by using a special shaped mine in May/June 1966

College Eye

USAF EC-121 airborne warning and control aircraft (renamed from Big Eye)

Combat Lancer

Initial deployment of the F-111A to Thailand in March 1968

Combat Skyspot

MSQ-77 radar-controlled bombing system and missions

Combat Talon

C-130 aircraft modified for use in Special Operations

Combat Tree

APX-80 IFF detection system

Commando Club

TPQ-81 and TACAN radar site at Lima Site 85 in northern Laos

Commando Hunt

Interdiction campaigns against infiltration routes on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos

Commando Sabre

USAF F-100F fast FAC operations in high-threat areas

Constant Guard

Deployment of tactical aircraft to Southeast Asia in 1972 as a result of the North Vietnamese Spring Invasion


Radio call sign of FACs of the 20th TASS when operating over North Vietnam and Laos


Airborne rescue command post

Dixie Station

Position in South China Sea for US aircraft carrier operations over South Vietnam

Eagle Pull

Evacuation of US and other personnel from Phnom Penh in April 1975

Fan Song

Fire control radar for the SA-2 SAM system

Farm Gate

Initially Detachment 2A, 4400 CCTS but subsequently applied to other early air commando units in South Vietnam

Flaming Dart

US air raids on North Vietnam on 7 and 11 February 1965 in response to VC attacks on American bases in South Vietnam

Freedom Train

Limited air campaign against North Vietnam starting 5 April 1972 in response to the Spring Invasion

Frequent Wind

Evacuation of US and other personnel from Saigon in April 1975

Giant Dragon

SAC U-2 reconnaissance operations in Southeast Asia

Giant Scale

SR-71A reconnaissance operations in Southeast Asia

Glowing Heat

Deployment of SR-71A to and from Kadena AB from the USA

Green Python

RF-101C photographic reconnaissance detachment at Udorn RTAB


Nickname for the SR-71A, also used to describe SR-71A operational flights over Southeast Asia


Experimental USAF RC-47 RDF operations


USAF C-130 airborne command post operating over the Steel Tiger area

Hilo Hattie

Experimental USAF RDF, photographic and infra-red reconnaissance operations using an HC-54

Ho Chi Minh Trail

Network of roads, trails and tracks stretching from North Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia to South Vietnam and used for infiltration and resupply by the North Vietnamese


Repatriation of US POWs from Hanoi and South Vietnam in February and March 1973

Igloo White

Electronic surveillance system to detect movement on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos

Iron Hand

Suppression of enemy air defence operations, particularly AAA and SAMs

Jolly Green (Giant)

Radio call sign and nickname for the USAF HH-3 and HH-53 SAR helicopters

Jungle Jim

Early code name for the Air Commando’s 4400th CTS based at Eglin AFB, Fla


USAF HC-130P airborne rescue command post (previously Crown)

Lima Site

Temporary landing site or radar site in Laos, used primarily by SAR forces, Ravens, Air America or Special Forces

Linebacker I

Air campaign against North Vietnam from April to October 1972

Linebacker II

Air campaign against North Vietnam in December 1972

Lucky Dragon

SAC U-2 reconnaissance operations in Southeast Asia

Market Time

USN air and surface vessel patrols along the coast of South Vietnam intended to interdict the resupply of VC units


Radio call sign of Commando Sabre F-100F fast FAC aircraft

Mule Train

Initial USAF C-123 detachment to South Vietnam in January 1962


Radio call sign of FACs of the 23rd TASS operating over South Vietnam and Laos


USAF strike operations in support of the defence of Khe Sanh, January to March 1968

Night Owl

Radio call sign and operations by the 8th TFW using F-4s to conduct night FAC and interdiction operations over the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Patricia Lynn

USAF RB-57E reconnaissance aircraft and operations using advanced day and night infra-red sensors and cameras

Pave Aegis

Refit programme of AC-130 aircraft with a 105mm howitzer

Pave Eagle

Beech QU-22 electronic reconnaissance aircraft used to relay data collected by the Igloo White sensor system

Pave Nail

Night observation system used by some USAF OV-10As in 1972

Pave Pronto

AC-130A Gunship II programme

Pave Spectre

AC-130E Gunship II programme

Pave Way

Laser, electro-optical or infra-red guidance system for bombs


Radio call sign and nickname of HH-43 base rescue helicopter

Phyllis Ann

USAF RC-47/EC-47 RDF operations

Pierce Arrow

USN retaliatory strike against North Vietnam on 5 August 1964 following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Pipe Stem

RF-101C photographic reconnaissance detachment at Tan Son Nhut in 1961

Prairie Fire

Clandestine cross-border ground reconnaissance into Laos and North Vietnam by US Special Forces for strike control and BDA purposes (renamed from Shining Brass)

Pocket Money

Aerial mining operations against North Vietnamese harbours commencing May 1972

Proud Deep

Protective reaction strikes against North Vietnam in December 1971 in response to build-up of SAMs near the DMZ

Ranch Hand

USAF C-123 defoliation and herbicide unit and its operations


USAF FAC pilots operating clandestinely in Laos as civilians

Red Crown

Early warning and air control ship stationed in the northern Gulf of Tonkin to provide support to air operations over North Vietnam

Rolling Thunder

US air campaign against North Vietnam between March 1965 and October 1968

Route Packages

Numbered geographical areas of North Vietnam designated by CINCPAC to facilitate Rolling Thunder bombing operations


Radio call sign of FACs when operating over Cambodia


Radio call sign of A-1 rescue escort operations

Senior Crown

USAF SR-71A high-altitude, high-speed reconnaissance aircraft programme


Radio call sign and nickname for AC-119G gunship aircraft

Shining Brass

Clandestine cross-border ground reconnaissance into Laos and North Vietnam by US Special Forces for strike control and BDA purposes (renamed Prairie Fire)


Early USMC helicopter detachment to South Vietnam

Skoshi Tiger

USAF operational test and evaluation programme for the F-5 in South Vietnam


Radio call sign and nickname for A-1 aircraft


Radio call sign and nickname for AC-130 gunship aircraft


Radio call sign and nickname for AC-47 gunship aircraft

Steel Tiger

Designated geographic area of southern Laos and interdiction operations on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in that area


Radio call sign and nickname for AC-119K gunship aircraft

Tally Ho

Air interdiction operations in Route Package I of North Vietnam

Tiger Hound

Air interdiction operations in southeastern Laos as part of the Steel Tiger campaign

Trojan Horse

SAC U-2 reconnaissance operations

Tropic Moon III

B-57G fitted with LLTV and other sensors for night attacks on infiltration routes

Water Glass

F-102 air defence detachments in South Vietnam in 1962 and 1963

Water Pump

Detachment 6, 1st ACW deployed to Udorn to train Thai and Laotian pilots in 1964 and later applied to Detachment 1, 56th SOW at Udorn

Wild Weasel

USAF F-100F and F-105F aircraft and operations dedicated to locating and destroying SAM sites

Yankee Station

Position in Gulf of Tonkin for US aircraft carrier operations over North Vietnam and Laos

Yankee Team

Early US air reconnaissance operations in northern Laos

© Chris Hobson and David Lovelady. All rights reserved.