Leatherneck Lingo

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Replaces sir, when addressing women officers in particular and all women in general.

Mac Marine

Any Marine. Mac was a popular term with Marines during WW II, similar to calling someone Bub. Mac Marine was the Marine career planner popular on posters of the 1960s.

Maggie's drawers

A red flag attached to a pole, which those pulling butts in the pits wave to signal a miss. Today the flag has changed to a red disc, but it is still "Maggie's drawers."


Marine air-ground task force—a reservoir of combat capabilities made up of a command element, combat service support element, aviation combat element and ground combat element. The smallest is a MEU and largest is a MEF.

main battle tank

M1A1 tank. Avoid calling it by its Army name, i.e., Abrams tank.


The CO of a ship's Marine detachment. On a ship there can be only one captain among her officers and that's the captain of the ship. Consequently, the CO of the Marine detachment, usually a Marine captain, is called a major. Provided by Maj Rick Spooner, USMC (Ret), former ship's MarDet commander.


leatherneck, devil dog, sea soldier, soldier of the sea, jarhead, gyrene.

master guns or master gunny

Master gunnery sergeant.


Marine expeditionary force. The largest of MAGTF units, approximately 46,100 Marines and sailors. It can range in size from less than a division to several divisions, aircraft wings and FSSGs.


Not KPs or mess cooks.



military time

General Wallace M. Greene Jr., 23rd Commandant of the Marine Corps, forbade the practice of suffixing the unnecessary word "hours" after each indication of time of day. This is another Army usage. Say or write "1200," never "1200 hours."


Marine lieutenants, CWOs and warrant officers were at one time addressed as mister. Naval officers with the rank of lieutenant commander or below. Women officers are addressed as ma'am. Women Marine lieutenants and warrant officers technically may be addressed as miss or misses, but the terms may seem too civilian with today's women officers. Caution and good judgment are paramount.

monkey suit

Originally the fur suit used by WW I and WW II aviators at high altitudes. Now used to refer to military uniforms in general.


Meal, ready to eat. Standard U.S. field ration sometimes called "Meals rejected by Ethiopia."


Marine Security Guard. Embassy duty.