NAVIGATE THE DICTIONARY - Numbers ¦ A ¦ B ¦ C ¦ D ¦ E ¦ F ¦ G ¦ H ¦ I ¦ J ¦  K ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ Z
Home Page ¦ Dictionary Cover ¦ Marine Quotes

Da Nang  

(Vietnam) Major Marine base and seaport on the China Sea in southern I Corps.

Dailey, Joseph W.

Fifth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps from Aug 1, 1969 until Jan 31, 1973, he was born Feb 17, 1917 in Black Mountain, Arkansas.

Daily Seven

Physical Training exercises expected of every Marine.


A complicated and unique hand shake devised by African American Marines in Vietnam as a demonstration of racial pride. Quickly picked up by non African Americans and eventually a common form of greeting. It came back to the United States with many of the veterans and became widespread for more than a decade.

 Dark Early

 (Vietnam) Very early in the morning.  See O Dark 30.

Date of Commissioning

For commissioned officers this date serves the same purpose as Date of Enlistment does for enlisted personnel although it is seldom used as precedence among officers is much more structured.

Date of Enlistment

For enlisted personnel this is the third level used to determine precedence among individuals of the same rank. The senior of two persons of the same rank is determined by the earliest date of rank while among two or more where rank and date of rank are identical, the one with the earliest date of enlistment is senior.

Date of Promotion

The day on which a promotion warrant or order is signed.

Date of Rank

The day on which a promotion is effective. Usually the date of rank is prior to the date of promotion (sometimes by days, sometimes by weeks, sometimes by years depending on the requirements of the promoting authority). Date of rank is used to establish precedence for promotion to the next higher rank and to establish seniority among individuals of the same rank (See General of the Armies).

DD Form 214

The certificate of service issued upon discharge. It lists all pertinent service information such as rank, date of rank, awards, special education and nature of service (honorable, bad conduct, dishonorable).

DD Form 4

The enlistment contract. All promises made by recruiters MUST be listed on the Form 4 or they are not real.

Dead Horse

In the sailing navy, the period of time a sailor worked to pay off advance pay. See Beating a Dead Horse.


The place where unserviceable vehicles awaiting repair are parked or a list of unserviceable vehicles.  Also a nickname for the Marine whose job it was to inspect and, if necessary, deadline vehicles.


Floor, from the naval term.

Deck Ape

Anyone in the Deck Force on board ship (those sailors who chip paint, swab decks, mend canvas and create ornamental rope work). Generally a Boatswain's Mate or Boatswain's Mate striker.

Deep Six

To throw something overboard or away. Originally the call of a sailor to the bridge that the depth of the water is more than six but not quite seven fathoms.


Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (used to register dependents for CHAMPUS and numerous other programs).


A cut or low spot in the ground used for cover by tanks and personnel.

Delayed Enlistment Program

A recruiting procedure which allows a person to enlist in the inactive reserve prior to being ordered to active duty. It legally binds the person to enlistment and gives him or her seniority when ordered to active duty. See Poolee.


(Commtalk) D.

Delta Delta

Dependent Daughter (see Dependent Wife)

Delta Hotel

Dependent Husband (see Dependent Wife)

Delta Sierra

Dumb Shit. Also Dependent Son (see Dependent Wife)

Delta Whiskey  

Dependent Wife. From the radio phonetics used by Military Police for the abbreviation DW. (see Alpha Unit)


Delayed Enlistment Program.

Department of the Navy  

The unit, under the Department of Defense, that manages the Navy and Marine Corps. There are also Departments of the Army and Air Force.


Usually the spouse and children of military people. Others can be dependents if they meet the dependency criteria of the service.


Leaving the normally assigned duty area, usually as a unit, to serve temporarily in another area, normally on board ship. See Float.


Date of Estimated Return from Overseas.


Unauthorized absence (AWOL) of more than 30 days.

Deuce and a Half

A two and a half ton truck. Also known as a Six By (it had six wheels on each side and each was a drive wheel). See Multi-fueler.

Deuce Gear  

See 782 gear.

Devil Doc

Nickname for Navy hospital corpsmen assigned to Marine Corps field units.

Devil Dog  

A Marine. The name “Teufel Hunden” was given to the Marines by their German enemies in World War I,  It has come to be considered a sign of respect for the dogged determination of Marines.


Abbreviation for drill instructor. Also a mid-20th Century movie about a drill instructor at Parris Island, SC starring Jack Webb.

Di Di

Pronounced D-D. From the Vietnamese term Di Di Mau which was loosely translated to mean "move quickly".

Dick Cheese

Term used for someone of little of no value as a person or a member of a unit or team.

Dick Holster

Mouth. Usually used in reference to Women Marines.

Dick Skinners



Diddie Bop, to move in such a manner as to be extremely cool. (Vietnam) Diddy; to move on or  Diddy Mau, to move very quickly..


Digitalized pattern camouflage uniform fabric.  Officially known as MARPAT.


(Vietnam) Wounded.


(Vietnam) Enemy or, generically, Vietnamese.

Dinky Dau

A Vietnamese term translated by Americans to mean crazy.


The 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC in the 1960.  So named because it was the only one with the new brick, three deck barracks.  The 1st Battalion was called Frontier land and the 2nd Battalion was called the Twilight Zone.  The 4th Battalion was then officially called Woman Marine Battalion.

Ditty Dot

Radio operator, from Morse Code, dit and dot.


A Marine Corps infantry unit containing multiple (usually three) regiments plus supporting units, commanded by a major general. (Army divisions are larger as they insinuate a Brigade between the regiments (3-5 regiments in a brigade and 3-5 brigades to a division) and the division)

Dixie Cup

Headgear worn by enlisted sailors through the grade of E-6 (first class petty officer). See White Hat.

Dixie Station

One of two positions typically occupied by an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam. Dixie was the southern station and was charged with troop support.


Demilitarized Zone. In Vietnam, a section of Vietnam between the Marines of I Corps and North Vietnam. In Korea, the line drawn at the 38th Parallel. Any point between two belligerent camps.


Duty Officer. The Marine equivalent to Officer of the Day.


A term reserved for Navy enlisted medical corpsmen assigned to duty with Marine Corps combat units. These sailors are generally given the same respect that one Marine gives to another Marine. In fact, Navy corpsmen who earn service medals during duty with the Marine Corps are authorized to wear a miniature eagle, globe and anchor on their ribbon-something not even authorized for Marines.


A commissioned officer in the Navy with a degree in medicine, dentistry, psychology or other allied profession, usually referred to by their military rank.

Dog Robber

An aide to a general officer whose duties are so varied as to defy explanation.

Dog Tags

Originally metal disks embossed with personal information that could be left with a body on the field of battle for identification. Eventually it evolved into a rounded rectangle with a small indentation on one side so that it could be set on the teeth of a deceased soldier and kicked into the head so that the enemy could not strip the dead soldier of his identity (this info confirmed with HQMC Casualty Branch). See also Toe Chain. Current versions do not have the notch.

Dog Watch

The normal watch from 1600 until 2000. It is broken into two smaller watches (first dog and second dog) so that everyone has the opportunity to eat the evening meal and to change the rotation of the watches where there are only two groups of watch standers (mostly from the days of smaller wooden ships).


A pejorative term for soldiers.



Donkey Dick

Long, flexible metal spout for attaching to Jerry Cans.  Also the ordinance safing switch for the AV-8A/C Harrier.


Sight adjustments made to a Marine's rifle to make its firing more accurate. Usually in reference to marksmanship training or qualification. Also, any adjustment made to improve the outcome of any event.

Dope on a Rope

See Spy Rigging.

Double Easy-8

Term used for the field telephone used in World War II and Korea. Actually the official term was Telephone, Field, EE-8. After telling a young Marine to go get a "Double Easy-8 a few times, it was inevitable that sooner or later he would be sent to find a "TR- Double-E. After a time he would be laughed at for searching for a "tree."

Double Time

A marching pace which is double “quick time” in which the arms are bent at the elbow and the troops run in step.


Died of Wounds. Someone who died of combat inflicted injuries after being treated at an aid station or higher echelon medical unit. One who dies prior to that point are designated KIA.

Dragon Master

A Marine with the MOS of 3533 Logistics Vehicle System Operator

Dragon Wagon

Logistics Vehicle System (LVS) is a modular assortment of eight-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles used by the United States Marine Corps. See M47.

Dress Blues

The famous blue uniform of the Marines with a standing collar. The uniform is similar to the one worn by Marines in the Civil War. The "sky blue" infantry trousers are adorned by a red "blood stripe" down the outside seams on commissioned and non-commissioned officers. This uniform is worn with medals (without medals it was at one time called Undress Blues). Current usage refers to Blue Dress A (with medals), Blue Dress B (with ribbons), Blue Dress C (sky blue trousers with khaki shirt, field scarf and ribbons) and Blue Dress C (short sleeved khaki shirt and ribbons).

Dress Blues, Tennis Shoes, and a Light Coat of Oil

A flip response to the question, "what is the uniform" or "what will you be wearing".

  Dress Ship

  For formal occasions, holidays and special events ships will display all of their signal flags to add color to the occasion..  While it may appear random there is actually a proscribed order in which the flags are displayed.  From bow to stern that order is AB2, UJ1, KE3, GH6, IV5, FL4, DM7, PO(Third Rep), RN(First Rep.), ST0, CX9, WQ8, ZY(Second Rep.)

Drill Hawk

An extreme "high and tight" haircut formerly popular with Drill Instructors.

Drill Injector

Pseudo humorous replacement for Drill Instructor, sometimes acceptable in informal speech.

Drill Instructor

A noncommissioned officer charged with the training of Marine recruits and the making of Marines. Each recruit platoon usually has three drill instructors, a senior drill instructor and two junior drill instructors.

Drill Instructor’s Hut

The office and duty quarters of the drill instructors, it is located within the recruit squad bay.

Drill Sergeant

An Army recruit instructor similar to a Marine Drill Instructor. The first batch of modern Army Drill Sergeants were trained at the Drill Instructor School at MCRD Parris Island, SC.

Drilling Holes in the Sky

Flying. Usually flying without a mission often simply to obtain the necessary monthly flying time to be eligible for flight pay.

Drooping Turns

Helicopter pilot term for "I'm getting tired" or when a helicopter is unable to maintain the necessary rotor RPM for whatever reason.

  Drop your cocks and grab your socks

  A phrase used often in Boot Camp and infrequently thereafter to wake people up.  It alludes to the suggestion that rather than sleeping the Recruits or Marines were awake masturbating and should immediately stop and begin to get dressed.


Survival swimming taught to every recruit.

Drum Major

The musician in charge of a band or musical unit. Usually elaborately dressed and carrying a baton which is used to signal changes in march and to provide a tempo to the music. Usually holding the rank of a staff noncommissioned officer. Until just after the Civil War bandsmen were unarmed and considered non-combatants except for the Drum Major who carried a sword.  Marine Corps bands and Drum and Bugle Corps today remain unarmed outside of combat areas and the Drum Major wears miniature swords on the elaborate sash.

Dry Fire

Simulated rifle fire used to teach correct positions for firing on the rifle range. A shooter would be in position and a buddy would slam the bolt to the rear when he or she heard the pin forced front.


(From WWI to Vietnam) A concoction issued with boots and boondockers intended to clean them since the footwear was made with the rough side out (much like the modern Desert Boot). By the late 1950s it was not being used as Marines were using bottles to force shoe polish into the nap so that the boots and boondockers could be spit shined. This all came to an end when Defense Secretary McNamara forced Marines to give up their comfortable "Marine Corps last" footwear and replaced it with the Army Munson last which was much less comfortable but cheaper.


At work (on duty) or having special requirements after normal working hours. Units will have a Duty Officer, Duty NCO or Duty Driver.


Not the abbreviation for Department of Veterans Affairs. See VA.

Links to another web site with more info. additional reading on this topic.


Custom Search


NAVIGATE THE DICTIONARY - Numbers ¦ A ¦ B ¦ C ¦ D ¦ E ¦ F ¦ G ¦ H ¦ I ¦ J ¦  K ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ Z
Home Page ¦ Dictionary Cover ¦ Marine Quotes 

© Glenn B. Knight, 2002-2011

Portions of this dictionary and its associated list of quotations may be quoted without further permission of the copyright holder so long as an appropriate citation is given. Citation should include "Unofficial Unabridged Dictionary for Marines" and the URL from which the quote is taken.

Please send additions, corrections, changes, modifications to
Send Complaints to anyone in the world but me, 'cause I don't really care. I'm doing the best I can with what I have and most folks seem to like it.

Semper Fi