Military Alphabet

Decoding the Military Alphabet

The Military Alphabet is a set of words (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo…) used to clearly identify the letters in the alphabet during communications over the radio or phone. The purpose of the Military Alphabet is to insure accurate communications, so that certain words or letters that sound alike (for example b and v and m and n) over the radio or phone are communicated correctly. Each word is unique and does not sound like any of the other words. The words were selected after significant research by the U.S. Military. The most commonly-used Military Alphabet (the NATO phonetic alphabet) can be found below.

Sometimes the words of the Military Alphabet are used for code words or call signs during military communications. For example, Delta Six Foxtrot might be the radio call sign for a platoon sergeant (E6) with the initials DF. A radio communication might start with the following: “Delta Six Foxtrot, this is Sierra Four Bravo, do you read me, over?”

Military Alphabet

A – Alfa (spelled with an f because a ph might be mispronounced)
B – Bravo
C – Charlie
D – Delta
E – Echo
F – Foxtrot
G – Golf
H- Hotel
I – India
J – Juliett
K – Kilo
L – Lima
M – Mike
N – November
O – Oscar
P – Papa
Q – Quebec
R – Romeo
S – Sierra
T – Tango
U – Uniform
V – Victor
W – Whiskey
X – X-ray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

Certain combinations of the Military Alphabet have well-known meanings within the military, such as the following:

Lima Charlie – Loud and Clear
November Golf – No Go
Sierra Hotel (Sh*t Hot)
Victor Charlie (VC, used during the Vietnam War)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – WTF

Civilian call centers may also use the Military Alphabet to clarify communications, though often the call center personnel will use non-military terms such as Boy for B and Nancy for N. The airline industry also uses the alphabet.

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