Here is *my* somewhat-comprehensive list of military abbreviations that I use in my posts. I’ll try to add abbreviations as I use them:

CAG = referring to the top officer of a Carrier Air Wing, which is the collection of squadrons that deploy together on an aircraft carrier (includes helicopters, jets, and all other aircraft). CAG is the head officer over all squadron officers and is equal to the captain of the ship; CAG is usually an O-6. CAG is called “CVW” on official documents

CO = Commanding Officer; usually used here in relation to the CO of a aviation squadron in the Navy; usually an O-5

COC = Change of Command; an official event during which the command of an air wing, squadron, team, or other organization changes from one person to another

COW = Commanding Officer’s Wife; usually in reference to a commanding officer of a squadron in the aviation community

DCAG = deputy commander of an air wing; 2nd in charge. See “CAG” above; usually an O-6

Department Head or DH = O-4 level officers in an aviation squadron; they are, literally, heads of departments in a squadron, lead up to 100 sailors, and report to the squadron XO and CO

Fitrep = Fitness Report; the title of the officer evaluation used in the United States Navy. Officers are ranked against their peers (fellow officers of the same rank in their squadron, unit, etc).

FRS = Fleet Replacement Squadron, also known as “The RAG”. The main mission of a FRS is to ready the next generation of military pilots. The FRS is the last stop of flight school graduates before they join the deployable fleet. There, they learn tactics, advanced flight skills, etc, that are particular to the type of aircraft that they will fly. Usually the instructors are called “RAG Instructors” and it is known as “The RAG”, as the FRS was previously called a Replacement Air Group. There are 2 fleet replacement squadrons for F-18 pilots – one on the East Coast in Virginia Beach and one on the West Coast in Lemoore, California. Each type of aircraft flown in the United States Navy has its own FRS

Hinge = aka “Filthy Hinge”; term used to describe O-4s in the aviation community. Since they are technically the highest rank in the JO community and training to become a senior officer (O-5 and above), it is said that they have a hinge on the back of their neck to nod their head to whatever senior officers’ say in hopes of getting the #1 EP (the best kind of professional review that will almost guarantee that they will go on to become a XO/CO of a squadron)

JO = Junior Officer; O-4 and below in the Navy, however most consider O-4s to be outside the “JO” club (see “Hinge”). This is a commonly used term

LSO = Landing Signal Officer; also known simply as “Paddles”. Responsible for “talking down” aircraft that are landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. There are several LSOs in every Naval aviation squadron. CAG Paddles, LSOs on CAG’s Staff, is the most senior of the LSOs, and are ultimately responsible for the safe landing of all fixed wing aircraft (aka non-helicopter aircraft)

LT = lieutenant (O-3)

LCDR = lieutenant commander (O-4)

MILSO or MILSPO or MILSPOUSE = “military significant other” or “military spouse”; many significant others and spouses prefer to use these abbreviations. Searching “milso” or “milspouse” on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram will locate tens of thousands of military loved ones

NFO = Naval Flight Officer; they are not a pilot and they do not fly the aircraft, but they perform a function in a Navy aircraft, such as navigation or coordinating activities

O Club = the officers’ club on base; most bases have one, as well as an enlisted club (E Club) and a chiefs’ club

OPSEC = Operational Security; for more information, visit my OPSEC page

PDCAG = DCAG-select (the officer slated to replace DCAG when he becomes CAG); see CAG and DCAG for more information

PERSEC = Personal Security; all military families and military personnel should take great care when posting information about themselves, their careers, and their families online or in discussions in public spaces. For more information, please visit this link.

SOW = Senior Officer’s Wife; usually in reference to the commanding officer of a staff or of something other than a squadron in the aviation community. She is the SOW of ALL aviation squadrons and ALL spouses clubs in the Carrier Air Wing. Her equal is the wife of the carrier’s captain, and the only spouse who “out ranks” them is the admiral’s spouse

XO = Executive Officer; usually used in my blog to reference the 2nd in command of an aviation squadron in the Navy; this person is usually an O-5 or an O-5 select

* I may refer to a spouse as an “O-5 wife” or something similar. Spouses do not wear rank, but sometimes it is convenient to describe a wife by her spouse’s rank if said rank is pertinent in my post.


  1. Another you could add, though I don’t remember you ever talking about it, is PERSEC as it is a good one to remind wives about. There are a lot of wives that don’t care or think about their own personal security half the time!

  2. For what it is worth, RAG stands for “Replacement Air Group” and was what the Fleet Replacement Squadrons used to be called “in the old days”.

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