Wednesday, July 14, 2010


One of my colleagues at work end her official three-sentence bio saying she "hates people who confuse their, there and they're."  

I hate acronyms.

Make your own case for why the helmet everyone wears should be referred to as an ACH, but it's a freakin' helmet.  But every formation at which we were required to wear our combat gear we were told to fall out in ACH and IOTV.  Why not fall out in your helmet and body armor?  Is there any chance someone would be confused and show up for formation in some other helmet and body armor?  

Last drill weekend someone mentioned the commanding general of the Pennsylvania National Guard.  Major General Jessica Wright, our commander, is officially The Adjutant General of PA.  Hence she is referred to by the acronym TAG.

Actually, and here is the grammatical problem, she is referred to as The TAG.  So if one were to spell out what is being abbreviated, Maj. Gen. Wright would be called The The Adjutant General.

Which makes acronyms exasperating if you care at all about language and proper usage.  Even if you say you don't care about grammar and proper usage, you do.  Grammar is the traffic lights and lines in the road of our spoken and written communication.  

Most of us have enough faith in our fellow citizens to drive through green lights.  It takes no faith to stop at red lights of course, the faith comes when passing through the green lights, even more with yellows.  

Using "The TAG" is definitely driving with one your right wheels off the pavement kicking up dust.  Acronyms allow an informed group to communicate quickly and serve to exclude everyone else from that group.  If you knew nothing about the Army, I would convey more information by saying that I was wearing my camouflage uniform with helmet, armored vest and my weapon instead of:
"I fell out in ACUs, with my ACH, IOTV and my SAW."
ACU=Army combat Uniform
SAW=M249 Squad Automatic Weapon
ACH and IOTV, see above.

Last drill when we had our gear inspected it was an OCIE (Organizational Clothing & Individual Equipment) inspection.  

I am going to stop now.  Time to eat some MREs and chill out.

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