Terms That You May Have Heard Persian Gulf Showdown

January 24, 1991|By Linda Geeson

* ADVERSARY: An enemy or foe.

AIR RAID SIREN: A loud alarm sounded to warn people that an attack may be coming. In Baltimore, air raid sirens installed during World War II are tested every Monday at 1 p.m.


* AIR STRIKE: An attack by planes dropping bombs.

* ALLIES: Countries joined for a common purpose. In the Persian Gulf War, the United States, Kuwait, France, England, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are allies in the fight against Iraq.

* AMPHIBIOUS: In nature, creatures that can live equally well on land or in water. In war, amphibious forces are soldiers landed from ships for an attack on shore.

* ARMORED FORCES: Tanks, troop-carriers and other vehicles that have thick metal skins to protect the soldiers and weapons inside.

* ARTILLERY: Large cannon able to fire heavy shells long distances.

* BOMBARDMENT: Attacking enemy positions with a rain of artillery shells and other explosives.


* CASUALTIES: People killed or wounded during war.

* CHEMICAL WEAPONS: Bombs, shells or missiles that release toxic gases that can kill, cripple or stun soldiers and civilians.

* COCKPIT: The control station of an airplane where the pilot sits.

* CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS: Non-nuclear, non-chemical bombs, missiles and shells.


* DEPLOY: To spread out and make ready for battle.

N * DRAFT: The forced enlistment of people into the military.

* EMIR: The title sometimes given to the ruler of a Muslim country. Kuwait was ruled by an emir before Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2.


* EVACUATE: To remove people from a dangerous place.

* GENEVA CONVENTION: The name given to international agreements reached in Geneva, Switzerland, regarding conduct during wartime, such as humane treatment of prisoners.

* INVASION: One country's soldiers entering into another country's land, sea or airspace.


* INTERCEPT: To catch or stop an enemy force before it strikes.


* LIBERATE: To set free.

* MEDIC: Soldier with medical training who helps other soldiers wounded in battle.

* MISSILE: An unmanned weapon propelled by a rocket or jet engine.

* MOBILE LAUNCHER: Missile-firing vehicle that changes location to avoid counterattack.

* MULTINATIONAL: Made up of many countries, as in the multinational armed forces.

* NEUTRAL: Not in support of either side in a dispute. In the war, neutral countries are those who are not supporting either the Allies or Iraq.

* OPERATION DESERT SHIELD: The U.S. name for its military protection of Saudi Arabia after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

* OPERATION DESERT STORM: The U.S. name for the attack against Iraq.


* ORDNANCE: All military weapons.

* PATRIOT: Ground-based, U.S. Army missile designed to protect our forces against enemy missiles by hitting them in midair.

* PENTAGON: Headquarters of the United States Defense Department. This huge, five-sided building is located in Arlington, Va., just outside Washington, D.C.

* POOL REPORT: News supplied by a small group of reporters to all news organizations.

* PRISONER OF WAR: A member of the armed forces who is captured by the enemy.


* PURPLE HEART: A military medal given for a war wound.

* RADAR: An electronic device that detects and tracks a distant object by bouncing radio waves off it.


* REFINERY: Oil-processing plant.


* RETALIATE: To strike back after being attacked.

* SAM: Surface-to-air missile used to defend against attacking planes.

* SCUD or SCUD-B: Ground-based Iraqui missile loaded with explosives that arcs high into the sky and falls on a city or other target.


* SORTIE: A single mission by a military airplane.

* STEALTH: A plane or missile designed so that its shape and composition make it nearly impossible to see on radar.

* TERRORISM: Sneak attacks against noncombatants. These shootings or bombings are intended to terrorize a civilian population and thus weaken their morale.

* ZULU (OR GREENWICH MEAN TIME): The time at the International Date Line, marked in Greenwich, England. U.S. military operations keep track of time in zulu or GMT. The military also count all 24 hours separately, instead of counting to 12 o'clock and starting over the way a standard clock does. So, 1300 hours equals 1 o'clock. When it's 1300 hours zulu, it's 8 a.m. Baltimore time and 4 p.m. in Iraq.

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