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Names of companies, platoons, squads, fireteams - Marines - Vietnam War
tabaqui wrote in little_details
Okay. This doesn't need to be 'historically' accurate, but 'procedurally', if that makes sense. I've got Echo Company of the 2nd Marines, 1st Battalion. Basically - Echo 2/1. *An actual unit.*

Now, according to my research, a company is this (edited for brevity):
A fire team consists of four Marines.
A squad is made up of three fire teams.
A rifle platoon consists of three squads.
A rifle company consists of three rifle platoons.

So, you have Echo company, and under that, three platoons and nine squads. I'm going to assume that each platoon and each squad has a name. Very possibly each fire team, as well, if only to make it easier to give orders/call on the radio, etc.

My question is - how are the various elements within the company named? Something like 'Alpha, Bravo, Charlie' or something like '1st, 2nd, 3rd' or what, exactly?

US Marine unit, set during the Vietnam War, incountry.

I have nothing for you but icon love.

Until someone with more specific time era and Marine knowledge chimes in, platoons and squads are referred to numerically - 1st Platoon, 2nd Platoon, 3rd Platoon, and within them, First Squad, Second Squad, etc.

Here's a link to several homepages for Marine Vets-
Looks like companies are designated by the Company name and numbers slashed (no pun plz) or dashed- Baker 1/7 or Echo 2/3 but some units are designated by special task assignments-Marine observation squad 2 is MO-2
and a MAT is mobile advisory team

War stories seem to just refer to units' numbers: “Team 3D3" and "After Dai Do, I was transferred from Staff Sgt. Wade’s 1st Platoon to Lt. Morgan’s 2nd Platoon. Why? 2nd Platoon it had only 3 men in it. 1st Platoon still had about 7 men left."
But there’s this "Operation Double Eagle with USMC Battalion landing Team 3/1 landed at Red Beach just north of Duc Pho followed by BLT 2/4" &"handwritten report for 30 June 69: "Item 2, time 2005 to 2315, locatin 733470, Unit B, Closed on NDP and man hit booby trap. 2 KIA, 3 WIA"
and journal entries "B Co, 1st Plt, CC bird on station for CE of B Co 1st Plt and A Co 3rd Plt:" -

and all this for call signs:
from Actual.
1. (Commtalk)Radio call sign for commander of a unit. If the unit call sign is "Brownbag" the unit commander will be "Brownbag Actual".
"In 1968 there was a team in Charlie Company, its call sign was Little Gull"
" Delta Co., Team 3D3, call sign Flight Time and all six (6) members were KIA"
Posts seem to have call signs always; To a firebase from an OP “garden time 5 this is red ball 6" so do planes and copters here you get a pilot "Smoky Gold", to ground location "Carnival Time", and helicopter gunship "Klondike Zero Three""
Have fun! interesting, really, not at all what I expected from the movies!
and sorry for hitting post before I got the links pasted in- fixed now!

Awesome, thanks for all the info and the links!

Looks like companies are designated by the Company name and numbers slashed (no pun plz) or dashed- Baker 1/7 or Echo 2/3

I wonder if the same formula was applicable in WW2. I've been using slashes this way - 2/1/B for 2nd Squad, First Platoon, B Company. (But only in narrative, not in dialogue.)

I think so-The cool thing about the one site was that it had transcripts of all these interviews/war stories, (so, yeah, dialogue or at least reported speech:)and I got kind of interested in reading the stories.
There were some from WWII as well and a lot more popped up when I googled marine radio call signs, that I didn't check out.
Based on my dad's stories, tho, the WWII soldiers were a lot fonder of using nicknames and call signs instead of the numbers. *shrugs* I think that was generally true of the time period, tho, not just soldiers.

I will ask the spousal unit when he awakens. (He is a former Marine who served two tours in Viet Nam.)

Spouse says "Alpha, Bravo, Charlie." I thought he would have more than that. I pressed for more and he said "Hotel Echo," which stands for "high explosives," or the sapper guys.

He was part of a two-man scout-sniper team. He was the sniper, and he had a spotter. They were called "The Dark Ones" by the North Vietnamese, who had a price on their heads (15000 piastres). They were called Sierra Tango (sniper team) by their own guys.

Interesting stuff - thank you so much! And thank you, too, Mr. Ezagaaikwe



2009-10-15 05:03 am (UTC)

alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, fox, golf, hotel, kilo, lima thats all i know at this point

mary, niner,ocean,

Wow... that's not even the phonetic alphabet. Try mike and oscar. Not to mention... M9O... what kind of platoon name is that? O_o;;

need to fine anyone in 1968 echo co.2/1 wepons platoon can email me help was in khe shan 1968

Thanks for the offer. :)

Post number 998 on


2011-08-14 03:29 am (UTC)

los Accesorios de teatro resultan, que esto


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