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Common Terms

This list provides information on common terms and language of particular significance for the most recent group of returning veterans but by no means covers all terms and jargon that clinicians may encounter. You can find additional resources on military terms at the bottom of this page.

Active Duty

Active service’ means full-time service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard; or as a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is characterized by dissociative symptoms (e.g. detachment, de-realization, or amnesia) during or after exposure to a traumatic event followed promptly by symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance/numbing, and hyperarousal from two days to a maximum of four weeks after the traumatic exposure.  

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It helps one deal with a tense situation in the office, study harder for an exam, keep focused on an important speech. In general, it helps one cope. But when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it has become a disabling disorder.


Battlemind is the Soldiers inner strength to face fear and adversity in combat with courage.  Combat skills and battle mindset sustained their survival in the war zone. 
Videos and other information available online.


The mental strength to venture, preserve and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. 

(DD-215 / WD Form)

The DD-214 is a service member’s discharge document, which documents dates of service and type of discharge. It is used to determine eligibility for veterans’ benefits.

Global War on Terrorism

Global War on Terrorism – Veterans who served in military experience in terrorism on or after September 11, 2001 and before a terminal dated yet to be established.

Military Sexual Trauma

Military sexual trauma defined as the result of sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape or other acts of sexual violence experienced by a veteran that occurs in a military setting regardless of dates of active duty, or war-zone status. Any veteran who was sexually traumatized while serving in the military is eligible to receive counseling regardless of gender or era of service.

Mobilization & Deployment

Mobilization is the act of assembling Reserve forces for active duty in times of war or national emergency.
is the assignment of military personnel to temporary, unaccompanied tours of duty. It is the actual sending of military personnel somewhere by some means.

U.S. National Guard  Personnel

Traditionally, most National Guard personnel serve "One weekend a month, two weeks a year", although a significant number serve in a full-time capacity, in a role called Active Guard and Reserve, or AGR.

National Guard's mission is to guard the nation. During peacetime, state governors command their guards, calling them into action during local and statewide emergencies (an average of six times a year, per state).

 The US president also activates the National Guard to participate in federal missions -- guard units from across the country have been deployed in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

U.S. Military Reserve Personnel

The seven reserve components of the U.S. military include: Army Reserve, Army National Guard , Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve , Air National Guard & Coast Guard Reserve.

The purpose of each reserve component is to provide trained units and qualified persons available for active duty in the armed forces, in time of war or national emergency, and at such other times as the national security may require, to fill the needs of the armed forces whenever, during and after the period needed to procure and train additional units and qualified persons to achieve the planned mobilization, more units and persons are needed than are in the regular components.

They are regionally based and recruited (unlike their active duty counterparts) and, in the case of the Army and Air National Guard, are the organized state militias referred to in the U.S. Constitution. Members of the reserve components are generally required to perform, at a minimum, 39 days of military service per year. This includes monthly drill weekends and fifteen days of annual training

The Army National Guard and Air National Guard are very similar to the Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve, respectively. The primary difference lies in the level of government to which they are subordinated. The Army Reserve and Air Force Reserve are subordinated to the federal government while the National Guards are subordinated to the various state governments, except when called into federal service by the President of the United States or as provided for by law.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan
The military response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States was assigned the name Operation Enduring Freedom.  OEF commenced on Oct. 7, 2001.

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

Operation Iraqi Freedom – Iraq
At 9:34 PM EST on March 19, 2003 (5:34 AM local time in Baghdad on March 20), United States and United Kingdom forces began conducting military operations against the state of Iraq.

Post Deployment Health Assessment

(DD Form 2796)

Each individual who requires a Post Deployment Health Assessment (DD Form 2796)  must be scheduled for a face-to-face health assessment with a trained health care provider (physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, advanced practice nurse, independent duty corpsman, independent duty medical technician, or Special Forces medical sergeant) during in-theater medical out-processing or within 30 days after returning to home or processing station." The purpose of this screening is to review each service member's current health, mental health or psychosocial issues commonly associated with deployments, special medications taken during the deployment, possible deployment-related occupational/environmental exposures, and to discuss deployment-related health concerns. Positive responses require use of supplemental assessment tools and/or referrals for medical consultation. The provider will document concerns and referral needs and discuss resources available to help resolve any post-deployment issues.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. 

Reintegration The reintegration process is designed to assist Soldiers, civilian employees, and family members who have endured hardships and sacrifices associated with deployment. The reintegration process provides service members, civilian employees, and families with information, assistance, and other tools they need to handle problems within different aspects of the “human dimension” that often arise after a long deployment
Service Connected Disability

An injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.  Compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of veteran’s dependents.  Eligibility for compensation is on a case-by-case basis.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

An injury to the brain regardless of severity.  Though not always visible and sometimes seemingly minor, brain injury is complex. It can cause physical, cognitive, social, and vocational changes that affect an individual for a short period of time, or permanently.

VA Form
10-10EZ - Application for Medical Benefits (Enroll)

The primary purpose of this form is to request enrollment in the VA Health Care System (Apply for Medical Benefits). Typically, veterans who have NOT previously enrolled or applied for VA health care benefits should use this form.

Vet Center

Vet Centers provide readjustment counseling and outreach services to all veterans who served in any combat zone. Services are also available for their family members for military related issues. Veterans have earned these benefits through their service and all are provided at no cost to the veteran or family.

Veteran (Vet) Status

Veteran status and eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under honorable conditions. VA regional offices or Vet Centers can clarify eligibility on an individual basis. In most cases, the veteran must enroll and/or apply for benefits, benefits are not automatically assigned.

War Zone Traumas

Veterans may go through many different kinds of traumatic and stressful experiences. During wartime, types of traumatic experiences include combat, blasts, sexual assault, witnessing death and injury, and living in severe conditions.

Additional Online Resources - Your Guide to Army Basic Training. Provides a list of common army acronyms and terms.

COMPASS Glossery of Common Terms - The National Training Portal of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corp.

Veterans Affairs Glossary - VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment


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