Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now Glossary


Armed Forces Vietnam Network is a radio station that provided US soldiers with radio and television programs during the Vietnam war. It kept the troops informed and entertained.


Refers to military units set up to be moved by aircraft and "dropped" into battle. They can be placed easily behind enemy lines and deploy in unexpected places with very little warning.


Short for "Commanding Officer" - an officer in command of a military unit.

Charles Manson

A convicted felon who became notorious for his leadership of the Manson family, a quasi-cult in California in the 1960s. The Manson family carried out several murders that rocked Hollywood - their victims included the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.


Slang for Viet Cong. The term is short for the phonetic spelling (used by the military and police to spell things over the radio) of "VC," which is "Victor Charlie."


Short for Communications Security.

Death Cards

The American soldiers' practice of leaving individual Ace of Spades playing cards on Vietnamese corpses as a psychological weapon against VC soldiers.


Inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions.


A disparaging term for a North Vietnamese soldier or guerrilla fighter.


A collection of documents about a particular person, event, or subject.

Double Agent

An agent who pretends to act as a spy for one country or organization while in fact acting on behalf of an enemy.

Green Beret

Highly skilled special forces in the US Army.


Slang for "dangerous".


Nickname for the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, a Vietnam-era multipurpose helicopter.


The indigenous people of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.


A substance made from petrol that was used in bombs by US forces to burn fields and villages during the Vietnam War. Images of Vietnamese victims suffering from napalm burns helped make people question U.S. tactics and the war in general.


A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.


Short for Patrol Boat, River. A boat used in the Vietnam War to travel shallow waters. Each PBR typically held a crew of 4 men and was armed with guns and grenade launchers.


Military slang for "Rest and Relaxation" or "Rest and Recuperation". In Vietnam, soldiers qualified for one week of R&R to an approved destination. After serving for six months, a soldier could put his name on a list to be selected for a vacation to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Hawaii, Taiwan, or Singapore.


A Sampan is a 3.5 - 4.5 meter long flat-bottomed boat. It is of Chinese origin, and is used by many traditional and rural South-East Asian populations as a fishing and transport vessel. Sampans were used extensively by Vietnamese people during wartime.

The Doors

An American rock band led by charismatic lead singer Jim Morrison. They were extremely popular and controversial during the late 60s and early 70s because of Morrison's wild behavior and poetic lyrics. He eventually died from an overdose in 1971.


The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO Show) is a nonprofit organization that provides programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families.