Susan Orlean, “Riding High”, in the New Yorker of 15 & 22 February, on the use of pack animals, mules in particular, in the U.S. military. One captain working with a reconstruction team in Afghanistan
said that there was authorization for his unit to rent pack animals when they were “essential to mission accomplishment.” He told me, “The category is ‘animals for missions.’ ” Then he interrupted himself and said, “No, the exact terminology is ‘live animals for training aids and cargo and personal transport.’ “
Hard to imagine a situation where anyone would use the exact terminology in speech. Even the less technical “animals for missions” scarcely trips off the tongue. I wonder what the captain and others like him actually say on the job.