I’ve mentioned before that I’m a military BRAT. Growing up around the Army, acronyms were just the norm for us. While most kids on a playground can tell you about ABC-gum and understand what “You’d better XYZPDQ” means, BRATs are familiar with so much more, usually even before the third grade. Also, our  parents when saying things like ‘As Soon As Possible’ did not spell out A.S.A.P. but usually pronounced it ay-sap. By the time we were in high school, we knew that a letter from DODDS addressed to our fathers was probably CC’d to him and actually addressed to his C.O. and that we must be nailed for ditching school and life as we knew it was now FUBAR (that’s Foo-Bar.)

What’s that? OH…right. Translation:

DODDS:   Department of Defense Dependent Schools
CC:           Courtesy Copy (you should know this from email headers, come on!)
C.O.:         Commanding Officer
FUBAR:    F*#!ed Up Beyond All Recognition

So, when I got caught, along with 65 of my closest friends, drinking apple schnapps on the school bus and the driver, Frank (not really his name but since Frank and Stoeckl own the bus company we called ALL of our bus drivers Frank) drove us to the MP station and the DSCC held all of us there for over 4 hours without allowing us to contact our parents. I finally was the ballsiest and picked up a phone and called my dad, who came immediately with my friends parents in tow and OMG did the S.H.T.F!  My dad calmly went in and told the DSCC, “Colonel, I would like to press charges.” The colonel was shocked thinking that my dad wanted to press charges against me for under-age drinking. He contended this was a matter best left for the  parents to handle since I was not military and they could not hold me in a military cell or discipline me in anyway. Dad clarified. “I want to press charges for kidnapping.” That got the Colonel’s attention.

DSCC:   “Against whom?”
D.A.D:   “You, Sir.”
DSCC:   “Come again?”
D.A.D:   “Sir, you have held my daughter against her will, without her parents knowledge and refused to
               her any contact with her parents. According to any dictionary, that is the definition of kidnapping,
               Sir, and I’d like to press charges.”
DSCC:   “But she and her friends were drinking on the bus!”
D.A.D:    “True, Sir. But as you’ve indicated, that would be a matter best left to her parents to handle since
                she is a dependent and not a military member and thus outside your jurisdiction. Isn’t that correct,
DSCC:    “Uh, well……uhm, see that she never does this again, Chief!”
D.A.D:     “I can guaran-damn-tee it, Sir.”
DSCC:    “Then I’ll just release her into your custody and we’ll pretend this never happened?”
D.A.D:    “That’s affirmative, Sir.”

I thought my dad was the coolest thing ever. The DSCC released the rest of the students with a stern warning and only my two best friends got suspended from the bus and had to take the train for two weeks. (That’s because they’d bought the booze in the first place.) And I was just the big hero. MY dad had pretty much gotten everyone off the hook and put the DSCC in his place, etc. Until we got in the car. And I was placed on restriction for the next 2 weeks and only allowed to leave my room for KP, laundry, meals and school. SNAFU. I was also warned that if I were to EVER embarrass my father via his chain of command again, that I would see the 4 walls of my room until we PCS’d. I was scared. That meant no more DYA sports, no more AFN, no more kissing boys behind the BOQ, no more watching movies at the AAFES theater and no more hanging out at the snack bar in the PX. So, I followed my father’s advice and got my “head out of my ass” and walked the straight and narrow until he came home one day and said, ‘FIGMO’.

For those of you, not familiar with military life overseas, more translation:

MP:        Military Police
DSCC:   Deputy Sub-Community Commander (the MFWIC of the smaller of two American military
              communities that are closely situated.)
MFWIC: Mother F*#!er What’s In Charge
OMG:     Really? You have to ask this in the age of Twitter?
S.H.T.F:  Sh** Hit the Fan
KP:         Kitchen Police
SNAFU:  Situation Normal-All F*#!ed Up
PCS’d:    Permanent Change of Station (to move)
DYA:      Dependent Youth Association
AFN:      Armed Forces Network (tv and radio station; aka AFRTS or Ay-Farts which is Armed Forces
                Radio and Television Service)
BOQ:     Billeting of Quarters (a military sort of hotel where members and families sometimes stay
               temporarily, after they’ve cleared quarters prior to PCSing and/or while on TDY – Temporary
AAFES:  Army Air Force Exchange Services (they ARE the dept store/fast food/bowling alley/theater/ on
               any Army or Air Force military compound.)
PX:         Post Exchange (you’ll sometimes hear someone say BX and that is the same thing only they’re
               usually Navy or Air Force because they have BASES instead of  POSTS so it would be Base
               Exchange….which I find really weird because Marines are assigned to CAMPS but they don’t say
               CX for Camp Exchange….I think they also have BXes. Of course, no one credits the Marines for
               being big readers anyway so if you just say “the exchange” to them they’ll know what you’re talking
               about and reply in the affirmative, “Oo-rah.”
FIGMO:  F*#! It. Got My Orders (means I don’t care….I’m PCSing soon and already have orders to leave)


5 thoughts on “Alphabet Soup

  1. BOQ = Bachelor Officers' Quarters
    BEQ = Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (much rarer since most of them live in the barracks, but sometimes single senior NCOs were given separate housing that's not in the barracks)


  2. I guess my memory is a bit hazy…but I recall my entire family living in some sort of billeting in Bad Kreuznach, Germany on the kaserne prior to leaving to our next post. I remember Dad calling it the BOQ. But I guess that must have been a misnomer. 😉 Tks for the clarification.


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