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A brief Glossary of Canadian Forces terms

2IC:  Second in Command of any size of military unit or organization. The 2IC of a regiment would usually be a major. The 2IC of an infantry section is usually a master corporal.

Adjutant:  A staff officer who acts as an assistant to a commanding officer (CO). Often addressed by the abbreviated title, Adj.

BMQ:  Basic Military Qualification. Thirteen-week basic training undergone by Canadian Forces non-commissioned recruits.

CADPAT:  Canadian Disruptive Pattern. Camouflage pattern used by Canadian Forces.

Camerons:  Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa. A Light Infantry Regiment of the Primary Reserve (see below) of the Canadian Forces.

CF:  Canadian Forces. Refers to all branches of the Canadian military.

CFB:  Canadian Forces Base.

Chalk:  A group of airborne soldiers that deploy from a single aircraft. During the WW2 Allied invasion of Europe, flight numbers were marked on the troops’ backs with chalk.

Coy:  Company. Hence: A Coy, B Coy, etc.

Coyote:  A lightly armoured fighting vehicle built by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada for the Canadian Forces, for use in the reconnaissance role.

DCO:  Deputy Commanding Officer. In a regiment, the DCO is more commonly referred to as the Regimental 2IC.

Dragoons:  Royal Canadian Dragoons or RCD. An armoured regiment of the regular force of the Canadian Army.

G-wagon:  Short for Geländewagen (or cross-country vehicle). A four-wheel drive vehicle manufactured in Austria for Mercedes-Benz. The G-class replaced the Volkswagen Iltis in 1990.

Griffon:  Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter. The Canadian military variant of the Bell 412EP, a multi-use utility helicopter. The Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter (UTTH) version carries a crew of three and an eight-man infantry section.

Leopard:  The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei for the West German Army. In 2007 the Canadian Forces contracted with the Netherlands and Germany to purchase approx. 100 surplus Leopard 2 tanks.

LAV III:  The latest in the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) series built by General Dynamics Land Systems, entering service in 1999. It is based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha IIIH.

MO:  Medical Officer. Medical Officers are physicians who are commissioned members of the Canadian Forces Medical Service.

NBC:  Nuclear, biological, chemical. Also used as term for the protective gear intended for use during nuclear, biological or chemical attacks.

NDHQ:  National Defence Headquarters.

Padre:  Military chaplain. All chaplains are addressed as “Padre”, regardless of their denomination.

Primary Reserve:  Sailors, soldiers and airmen who train to the level of and are interchangeable with their regular force counterparts and are posted to CF operations or duties on an on-going basis.

PMQ:  Private Married Quarters. Military housing available to military members and their families.

Section:  An infantry section usually consists of eight soldiers led by a Sergeant with a Master Corporal acting as 2IC.

Non-commissioned members of the Canadian Army

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO):
The most senior non-commissioned member rank in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Its equivalent rank in the Royal Canadian Navy is Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO1).

Regimental Sergeant-Major (RSM):
The RSM is the senior non-commissioned officer in a battalion-sized army unit. While other members of the unit may hold the same rank (Chief Warrant Officer), the RSM is first among equals and works very closely with the Commanding Officer (CO).

Sergeant-Major: 
Usually a Master Warrant Officer commanding a company or squadron at the battalion level.

Sergeant: 
In the Canadian Army, a section commander, subordinate to a Warrant Officer and senior to a Master Corporal.

Master Corporal:
A senior corporal. The second in command of an infantry section. Senior in rank to a Corporal, subordinate in rank to a Sergeant.