Military jargon decoded

Tonya Fennell: Cannon Connections

My husband has spent almost half his life as a U.S. Air Force airman and he is fluent in the everyday military jargon.
But, it has taken me years to decipher the Air Force language he speaks.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Blues – Members of the Air Force refer to their dress uniform as “Blues.” As a military wife, I know this uniform just takes up space in the back of the closet. Expect mild complaining when this uniform is donned. And any function that requires this uniform is probably boring.
BDUs – This is an Air Force acronym for Battle Dress Uniform. However, I refer to it as my husband’s camouflage outfit (My husband hates this, but it is a two-piece matching set, so therefore it’s an outfit in my book.) And as far as I’m concerned the only battle associated with this everyday uniform is making it to the dry cleaners before they close on Saturday so he has a clean set to wear on Monday.
TDY — This common military acronym stands for temporary duty, which basically means my husband travels to another Air Force base to do the exact same job he does at his home base. This could last two weeks, two months or longer. I always expect at least one mild disaster on the homefront during these assignments. The baby will get diarrhea, the pipes will freeze or the brand new washing machine will spring a leak.
BX — This means Base Exchange in military language. Or in military wife terms, it is simply a one-stop shopping location. Very convenient when shoes, clothes, make-up and electronics are all under one small roof.
Orders — This one is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, it means my husband is being ordered to do something. More specifically, it usually means moving to a new town. My husband hasn’t gotten orders yet, but I figure it won’t be long.

Tonya Fennell is news coordinator for Cannon Connections. Contact her at 1-800-819-9925 or by e-mail: