Military Slang Terms

A Donkey which is slang for many pieces of military equipment.

Definitions of Military Equipment Slang Terms

When it comes to military equipment, there is a whole other language that exists in the form of slang terms and nicknames. This lexicon, unique to those in the military, serves as a way to communicate quickly and effectively about various tools and weapons in their arsenal. These slang terms can be both practical and a way to build camaraderie among service members.

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For example, the term "Iron sight" is often used to refer to the standard mechanical sight found on firearms. It is called so due to its metallic construction and durability. On the other hand, the slang term "Hush Puppy" encompasses a suppressed firearm, highlighting its quiet operation. These nicknames not only serve as shorthand for communication but also add a layer of familiarity and character to the equipment being discussed.

Aircraft Maintenance Slang Terms

The followers of the Maintainer Humor FB page were asked to list the various pieces of equipment nicknamed "The Donkey D1ck" hereafter referred to using the abbreviation "DD". The origin of the nickname is unknown, but it seems like any piece of equipment that's remotely shaped like a male donkey's private gets called that. (Can you tell that we are trying to keep this rated PG?) 

In any case, here are their submissions. Please note that not all pictures may be located with the correct text.


F-15 nose landing gear

F-15E Nose wheel mass shimmy damper was one. There was something fuels related on the F-22, but I don't remember what, maybe the air refueling tester?

Drain hose

Probably a bunch of them on the C-5, but ours in Hydro was the open ended hose we'd put on the external HYD connection to drain the reservoir fast.

The adapter from the external power generator to the aircraft’s receptacle on the CH-53E's.

Refueling tester

The F-15 fuel probe that was used to empty fuel from the pylons. Shoved into the underside after pylon removal.

F404 VEN power unit oil level indicator. On replenishing we said something like ‘pump the oil in until the “DD” extends beyond the housing and then bleed back to full’.

When I was a Plane Captain on F/A-18 legacy Hornets, it was part of the fuel sample kit. Take samples from ports under the wings and from the belly, as part of the D/TA

Aircraft refuel adapter

I think it is given to any tube shaped object that hangs down. The GE F110(F-16) engines have what's called an “elephant cl1t” (HPT bolt retainer).

KC-135 boom

KC-135 drogue breakaway force tester.

F-16 ammo loading adapter. Goes on the pneumatic gun that spins the assembly.

P-3 aircraft MAD boom

C-130 UARRSI tester

TF-33 PW-103 Gearbox Oil Breather Tube was referred to as one.

On Minuteman missile sites, there was a protective cover we were required to put on the PAH door actuator that we called by that name. (Actually, there were two door actuators. One we would cover with a metal door stop which we called the Clamshell, and the other was covered with a simple piece of fire hose that was called the DD.)

Water fill station and Al Udeid AB

The only thing I've ever heard people refer to as the “DD” in my job was the water fill station at Al Udeid. We used it to refill our water bowser to wash our equipment for inspections. You had to have someone stand on top and hold it steady to keep from wasting water because the "D" wasn't long enough to go into the bowser.

F-15 external wing tank defuel adapter was one.

Jet engine assist handle

F100 CENC tube. Painful to headbutt.

Ours was a de-puddle hose on F-16’s.

There was the B-52 ALQ-155 liquid cooler filling funnel and the APS-107 J3 cable at the processor under door 19 on the F-4D.

F-15 canopy remover

C-130E/H model oil tank pendulum

OH58-D we used one to open the fuel sump drain plug to get our pre-flight fuel samples.

In ICBM maintenance it is the launcher door resetting device.

Flexible radio antenna

I’m used to it being the anti-g suit hose Adaptor.

F-16 was used to transfer internal fuel tanks if they were transferred in the incorrect order. You would essentially refuel the jet from the defuel receptacle.


Aircraft switch

UAL flexible drive shaft

On a GE J79 engine it’s used to separate the turbine from the compressor. We had a 4 to 5 foot long tool that you slid into the turbine shaft. Through to the compressor. Put the Sweeny wrench on it to break it loose and then unscrew. Thus, allowing the 2 sections to separate. This tool was called the DD.

Cable extension

The drogue drain tool is literally a long black tube shaped piece of equipment. Hell, I didn't even know the literal name for it till I went to CTK.

The USMC -53 community has the AR probe fueling adapter, and the dual-point hook release cables that are called “DD”’s.

One of my NCO’s got mad at me for not knowing what it was actually called. I was like what you just want me to call POL out to “DD” these tanks?

U-2 De-puddle hose

Jerry Can gooseneck

Officially it's the gas can gooseneck. But we also called this by the same verbiage.

Any number of huge wire splice points wrapped in F4 tape.

T-56 torque shaft mid-bearing alignment tool.

We carried one on our SAR boats (Coast Guard). Could be used on our own boat if a serious leak developed, or on a vessel in distress that we were assisting. We referred to it as "the DD".

On KC-10s it's an air hose used on #2 thrust reverser ground tests.

aircraft component

I worked on the B-2, the area refuel connection point was often referred to as the “DD”.

Both the flex drive for loading Gun and the de-puddle “ramrod” for pylons on F-22s

The cover we placed over a pitot tube to seal it off for a pitot/static leak check was called a “DD”.

F-15 canopy remover

F-15C canopy remover

Helicopter dump mast

Black hawk fuel dump tube.

External Tank refuel hose from a POL truck.

H-60 Tail Rotor pitch change shaft.

We called the tail rotor drive shaft on the Blackhawk (the S70 Aussie variant not the UH-60) a “DD”.

F-15 canopy tool

The Blackhawks fuel dump tube

External start duct mountain at the bottom of the APU’s on B-2’s for bleed air application

aircraft component

The forced jettison prevention sleeve for the AERO-27/A C/L bomb rack.

The T37 and A37 had a rubber highly flexible DD in the hydraulic reservoir. The installed DD ensures positive supply of hydraulic fluid when the aircraft rolled or nose up/down. I've seen some of these DD's placed on going away plaques.

LOX adapter

The Inhibitor plug used during tests for the GCU “Gun Control Unit” of the GAU/8 on the A-10.

Literally any helicopter defueling hose adapter.

Hobart power extension cord

Hobart power cord extension!

Pratt and Whitney F100-220! “DD” on the CENC! Grab that for leverage pushing and pulling during installs/removals.

EA-6B refueling probe

Refueling probe in the EA6Bs. Always told us in the AD shop "get the Vaseline and lube the DD".

Origin of Slang Terms for Military Equipment

The origin of slang terms for military equipment can be traced back to the need for soldiers to communicate quickly and effectively in high-stress situations. Terms such as "piece" for a gun or "cannon fodder" for soldiers reflect the gritty reality of combat. These slang terms often develop organically within military units, creating a sense of camaraderie and shared experience among service members.

Furthermore, some slang terms are influenced by cultural references or historical events. For example, the term "Tommy gun" comes from the iconic Thompson submachine gun used by American soldiers during World War II. Similarly, the nickname "Flying Fortress" for the Boeing B-17 bomber showcases the awe-inspiring power of these aircraft. Overall, the origin of slang terms for military equipment is a fascinating study in the evolution of language within the armed forces.

Popular Slang Terms for Guns

One of the most well-known slang terms for guns is "piece." This term is often used in movies, books, and everyday conversation to refer to a firearm. The origins of this term can be traced back to the early 20th century and it has since become a popular and widely recognized way to describe a gun.

Another popular slang term for guns is "heat." This term is often used in urban slang to refer to a firearm, especially one that is considered to be powerful or dangerous. The term "heat" carries a sense of intensity and danger, making it a fitting nickname for guns in certain contexts.

Common Slang Terms for Ammunition

Ammunition is a crucial component in military operations, and soldiers often use colorful slang terms to refer to different types of ammunition. One common slang term for ammunition is "rounds," which is a general term used to describe bullets or shells. Soldiers may say they need more rounds when requesting additional ammunition for their firearms. Another popular term is "ammo," a shortened version of the word ammunition. This term is widely used in the military to refer to any type of bullets or shells needed for combat.

In addition to rounds and ammo, soldiers also use the term "mag" to refer to a magazine of bullets. Magazines are the containers that hold the ammunition and are inserted into firearms to feed the bullets into the chamber. Soldiers may ask for an extra mag when they need a refill of ammunition during a firefight. These common slang terms for ammunition help soldiers communicate quickly and effectively in high-pressure situations on the battlefield.

Unique Slang Terms for Tanks

One intriguing aspect of military culture is the unique slang terms used to refer to tanks. These armored vehicles are often affectionately called "Steel Behemoths" by soldiers due to their massive size and formidable presence on the battlefield. The term "Iron Giants" is also commonly used to describe tanks, highlighting their strength and durability in combat situations. These nicknames not only emphasize the power of tanks but also evoke a sense of awe and respect for these heavy-duty war machines.

Another popular slang term for tanks is "Rolling Fortress," which underscores the impenetrable nature of these vehicles when properly utilized in warfare. This moniker reflects the belief that tanks provide crucial protection to ground troops, acting as a moving shield against enemy fire. Additionally, tanks are sometimes referred to as "Battle Beasts," portraying them as ferocious creatures capable of wreaking havoc on the battlefield. Such colorful and evocative terms not only showcase the reverence for tanks within military circles but also add a layer of personality to these mechanical marvels of modern warfare.

Famous Slang Terms for Aircraft

Among the various aircraft utilized by military forces around the globe, there are several renowned slang terms that have become iconic within the aviation community. These nicknames often reflect the distinctive characteristics or roles of the aircraft, fostering a sense of camaraderie among pilots and aviation enthusiasts. For instance, the A-10 Thunderbolt II is commonly referred to as the "Warthog" due to its rugged appearance and powerful armament capabilities. This nickname emphasizes the aircraft's role as a close air support platform, known for its ability to deliver precise firepower against ground targets.

Another famous slang term is "Huey," used to affectionately refer to the Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter. This nickname originated during the Vietnam War and has since become synonymous with the iconic rotorcraft. The UH-1's versatile design and significant role in various missions, including troop transport and medical evacuation, have solidified its status as a beloved aircraft among military aviators and enthusiasts. The nickname "Huey" not only pays tribute to the helicopter's original designation but also highlights its enduring legacy in military aviation history.

Obscure Slang Terms for Naval Vessels

Naval vessels, commonly referred to as "boats" by the general public, hold a unique place in the realm of military slang. One of the more obscure slang terms for naval vessels is "Tin Can," which is a reference to destroyer ships due to their sleek, metal exteriors resembling a can. This term highlights the close-knit camaraderie among naval personnel who often use humor and wit to bond over the challenges of life at sea. Another lesser-known term is "Greyhound of the Sea," a nickname for the fast and agile naval frigates that are likened to the speedy and elegant animals known for their swift movements.

Furthermore, the term "Bucket" is sometimes used informally to describe submarines. This playful nickname stems from the vessel's enclosed nature, resembling a confined space akin to a bucket. Despite the seriousness of naval operations, these lighthearted slang terms serve as a way for sailors to add a touch of levity to their intense and demanding roles onboard. Such obscure slang terms for naval vessels showcase the rich tapestry of terminology that reflects the unique experiences and perspectives of those serving in the maritime branches of the military.

Historical Slang Terms for Explosives

During times of war and conflict, soldiers often developed creative slang terms for explosives to communicate effectively and in a covert manner. One such historical term is "pineapple," which was used during World War II to refer to the Mk 2 hand grenade due to its resemblance to the fruit. This term not only served as a way to identify the specific type of grenade but also added a layer of camaraderie among soldiers who shared this unique language.

Another intriguing historical slang term for explosives is "whiz bang," which originated during World War I to describe small-caliber artillery shells known for their high-pitched sound upon detonation. This term not only captured the essence of the explosive's rapid speed and sudden impact but also demonstrated the soldiers' ability to find humor and irony in the midst of conflict. Such creative linguistic adaptations not only facilitate efficient communication on the battlefield but also serve as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of those in the midst of war.

Modern Slang Terms for Communication Devices

As technology continues to advance, so does the terminology used to refer to communication devices in the military. One of the common modern slang terms for communication devices is "squawk box," which is used to describe a radio or intercom system. This term likely originates from the squawking sound that can be heard when communication is made over radio frequencies. Another term often used is "comms gear," a shortened version of communication gear, referring to any equipment used for transmitting or receiving messages.

In addition to these more commonly used terms, there are also more specialized slang terms for communication devices. For example, "tac chat" refers to tactical chat systems that allow for secure and encrypted messaging between units. Similarly, "sat phone" is a nickname for satellite phones, which are crucial for communication in remote areas where traditional networks may not be available. These modern slang terms reflect the evolving technology and practices within the military communication landscape.

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