Glossary of Terms

ACU Guide| Glossary of Terms


These are acronyms or terms commonly used by the U.S. Army and State Defense Forces. Many of these terms appear in Army Regulations, Department of the Army Pamphlets, Field Manuals, or in common vernacular, but this is NOT an exhaustive list.


ACH: Advanced Combat Helmet

ACU: Army Combat Uniform; refers to the current style and make of the utility uniform of the U.S. Army

AR: Army Regulation; a rule or law which often carries punitive consequences for violation or failure to comply.

DA PAM: Department of the Army Pamphlet; a guide to how to implement or adhere to the requirements found within the corresponding Army Regulation.

ECWCS: Extended cold weather clothing system

IHWCU: Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform; an alternative to the standard ACU that is lightweight and fast drying; an authorized utility uniform in OCP

MOS: Military Occupational Specialty

NCO: Noncommissioned Officer; enlisted service member with a rank of E4 (CPL) through E9 (CSM)

OCP: Operational Camouflage Pattern; also referred to as OCP Scorpion W2 or Scorpion; this is the only authorized camouflage pattern currently in use by the U.S. Army.

OEF-CP: Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern; commonly known as MultiCam; used by the U.S. Army in limited issue to soldiers deploying in support of the global War on Terror from 2010-2015.

SDF: State Defense Forces

SSI: shoulder sleeve insignia

TOE: table of organization and equipment

UCMJ: Uniform Code of Military Justice; the laws that govern soldiers

UCP: Universal Camouflage Pattern; an older, out of date/out of use camouflage pattern, commonly referred to as "digital camo".




Accoutrements: Items such as medals, ribbons, insignia, badges, emblems, tabs, and tapes authorized for wear on uniforms.

Appurtenances: Devices such as stars, letters, numerals, or clasps worn on the suspension ribbon of the medal, or on the ribbon bar that indicate additional awards, participation in specific events, or other distinguishing characteristics of the award.

Awards: An all-inclusive term that consists of any decoration, medal, badge, ribbon, or appurtenance bestowed on an individual or unit.

Badge: An award given to an individual for identification purposes or that is awarded for attaining a special skill or proficiency. Certain badges are available in full, miniature, and dress miniature sizes.

Clothing bag: Uniform items and personal clothing issued to initial entry Soldiers which all Soldiers are required to maintain throughout their military career.

Decoration: An award given to an individual as a distinctively designed mark of honor denoting heroism, or meritorious or out-standing service or achievement.

Dress uniforms: Uniforms worn as formal duty attire, or that are worn at formal or informal social functions, before or after retreat. They include the Army green, blue, and white uniforms.

Field uniforms: Utility and organizational uniforms, excluding the garrison culinary uniform, that are worn in field, training, or combat environments.

ID tags: Metal tags worn around the neck that are embossed with identifying information for the servicemember wearing them; also known as "dog tags".

Optional clothing: A uniform or clothing item, with or without protective properties (for example, flame resistant clothing), prescribed by the Army Uniform Board and approved by the CSA to be worn at the individual’s option; optional clothing items do not include ballistic protective items, except for protective eyewear.

Personal clothing: Military-type clothing, clothing of a personal nature, and component items listed in CTA 50 – 900 that are provided to enlisted personnel (specifically, the initial clothing bag issue).

Religious apparel: In accordance with 10 USC 774: Apparel the wearing of which is part of the observance of the religious faith practiced by the member.

Roll press: To remove substantial wrinkles from clothing without creating creases.

Service uniform: Worn in garrison environments when the wear of utility or dress uniforms is not required or appropriate. Service uniforms consist of the Army green or blue (Class A and Class B) uniforms.

Utility uniforms: Uniforms normally worn in the field, during training, or while performing duties where it is not practical or appropriate to wear a service uniform. Uniforms classified as utility uniforms are found in DA Pam 670 – 1.