A to Z the Military Way: B to BZ (or Help! I Married into the Military and Don’t Know What Anybody is Saying!)
A to Z the Military Way: B to BZ (or, Help! I Married into the Military and Don’t Know What Anybody is Saying!)
By: Mary Anderson
In my quest to make common military acronyms understood, we shall carry on with the letter B this month. This month will range from money, to organization makeup, to punishment, then to a wonderful organization, and finally a message to all of you! Enjoy!
B is for Bravo, the second letter in the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alphabet, which is the alphabet that all NATO countries use for their militaries, regardless of branch (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard). It sounds like the military is giving itself a high-five – at least it’s not humble!
BAH – Basic Allowance for Housing is a U.S.-based allowance determined by geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. This is something you should look at BEFORE you get your house. The Department of Defense has a great site called Defense Travel Management Office that allows you to calculate BAH. http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm
BAS – Basic Allowance for Subsistence. This allowance is meant to offset the cost of the meals of service members, but not dependents. This confuses some people since this rate can fluctuate yearly due to the rising costs of food. Since most enlisted members get full BAS, they are even expected to pay for food provided by the government. Let’s hope that it’s better than the cafeteria food at my daughter’s school!
BAT – Battery. A battery is the field artillery’s equivalent to a company. A company is usually made up of between 85 to 225 personnel. A captain normally commands a battery. A battery can be shortened to BAT, as in the animal. So, if your husband is in a battery, you can run around and tell people that the military trained him to be Batman (coolest military job ever).
BCD – Bad Conduct Discharge . There are two types of discharges: Administrative and Punitive. This falls under Punitive. A soldier can only receive this if a Special BCD court martial or a general court martial is convened. This discharge can follow a military prison sentence. Virtually all veterans’ benefits are forfeited except for VA (Veteran Affairs) disability compensation.
BDE – Brigade. A brigade usually consists of between 3-5 battalions, plus the special units that are attached (headquarters, logistics (supplies), etc.). There are between 2,500 to 4,000 people in a brigade. A colonel normally commands a brigade. (You’ll know the colonel because he wears a bird on his uniform – not as cool as a bat, but they all can’t be Batman!)
BG – Brigadier General. This service member is also known as a one-star, since he or she only wears one star on his or her uniform. As one funny tale goes: During a training exercise a first lieutenant was driving by and noticed a general’s jeep stuck in the mud. The lieutenant asked the general if his jeep was stuck. The general gets out of the vehicle, walks up to the lieutenant and says, “Nope,” as he hands the keys to the lieutenant, “Yours is.”
BN – Battalion. A battalion is normally made up of a headquarters and two or more batteries or companies. It usually ranges from between 300 to 1200 personnel and is led by a lieutenant colonel. Battalions are like one large dysfunctional family. While each company in the battalion is better than the others, nobody better talk bad about their battalion as a whole. (They get kind of upset about that.)
BOSS – Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers. Established in 1989, BOSS has three key components: well-being for single soldiers, community service, and recreation/leisure activities. BOSS is a program that gives a voice to the single soldiers. Once it saved me from living in 1940′s barracks, which is fun for one night, but not for 20. My barracks had asbestos in the ceiling and we had to find somewhere else to stay. BOSS intervened on our behalf and got all of the single soldiers cheap hotel rooms – much better than the WWII buildings that were falling apart. I have loved that organization ever since!
BZ – Bravo Zulu. This means well-done or good job in the USN (United States Navy). This term originated from the Allied Signals book created by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). When I first heard this I thought I was being insulted. Whoops!
So to all those spouses out there who move every other year, raise kids while the spouse is deployed, quit their job so that their spouse can defend our way of life, have made and lost more friends then they can remember, and still find a way to make their family feel like they are always home, no matter where that home is – Bravo Zulu!
Defense Travel Management Office. (n. d.) Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). Retrieved from http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm
Military Acronyms, Intialisms, and Abbreviations. (n.d.) FAS. Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/news/reference/lexicon/aca.htm