What is military alphabet

Military list of call letters

Learn the phonetic alphabet from alpha to zebra

NATO and the US military use the same phonetic alphabet. However, it is widely accepted and used in international radio communications at sea, in the air, or on land. The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (IRSA) is what the United States phonetic alphabet is called. The phonetic alphabet was created by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to decipher similar sounding letters and numbers between different countries and organizations.

The phonetic alphabet is a list of words used to identify letters in a message transmitted over the air, telephone, and encrypted messages. The phonetic alphabet can also be signaled with flags, lights and Morse code. On the radio, spoken words are replaced by letters from an approved list. For example the word "Army" would be " A. lfa R. omeo M. ike Y ankee "when written in the phonetic alphabet. This practice helps to avoid confusion between similar sounding letters such as" m "and" n "and to clarify signal transmissions that could be disturbed during transmission.

In military missions the use of the phonetic alphabet has been used to communicate with the chain of command which phase of the mission was successfully carried out. For example, if a SEAL team arrived at the beach and was undetected to continue the mission, they may have labeled it the first "waypoint" and used the code word "Alpha". It tells the higher chain of command where you are and if you are on schedule.

An early version of the phonetic alphabet appears in the 1913 edition of The Navy Bluejackets' Manual. It was found in the Signals area and linked to the alphabetical code flags in the international code. Both the meaning of the flags (the letter they represent) and their names (which make up the phonetic alphabet) were chosen by international agreement.

Later editions also contain the Morse code signal.

Military Phonetic Alphabet (adopted 1957)

letter1957-presentMorse code191319271938Second World War
A Alfa (or Alpha) . _ Able to positive A company Afirm (Able)
B. Bravo _. . . Boy baker baker baker
C. Charlie _. _. occupation occupation occupation Charlie
D. delta _. . dog dog dog dog
E. echo . Easy Easy Easy Easy
F. Foxtrot . . _. Fox Fox Fox Fox
G golf _ _. George George George George
H hotel . . . . To have Hypo Hypo How
I India . . items interrogation Int Int (subject)
J Juliett . _ _ _ Jig Jig Jig Jig
K kilo _. _ king king king king
L. Lima . _. . love love love love
M. Mike _ _ Mike Mike Mike Mike
N November _. Nan negative Negat Negat (nan)
O Oscar _ _ _ oboe possibility possibility Option (oboe)
P father . _ _. Puppy Preparatory preparation Preparation (peter)
Q Quebec _ _. _ Quack Quack queen queen
R. Romeo . _. Rush Roger Roger Roger
S. Sierra . . . sail sail sail sugar
T tango _ Tare Tare Tare Tare
U uniform . . _ unit unit unit uncle
V winner . . . _ Vice Vice winner winner
W. whiskey . _ _ Clock Wilhelm Wilhelm Wilhelm
X roentgen _. . _ roentgen roentgen roentgen roentgen
Y Yankee _. _ _ yoke yoke yoke yoke
Z Zulu _ _. . Zed Zed Zed zebra

Flags and pennants used by Navy / Sailing Vessels worldwide

The navy and other sea vessels use the visual symbol on the mast of the ship (s) to convey the status of the ship and crew. From emergencies to dredging and other activities carried out by the boat and crew, flags are a way of communicating on the open waterways.

As can be seen in the picture, all flags represent the phonetic alphabet and have a different meaning than the diagram above.

Image of flag alphabet

The use of alpha-phonetic symbols is intended to reduce radio traffic and communicate status, request help, in a code that can be understood internationally. The more tactical use of alpha phonetics, similar to mission status code words, can be used, encrypted, and reduced open radio traffic with a line of sight with flags and lights.

Here are some common military uses of the phonetic alphabet, used in both official military communications and informal ones:


Bravo Zulu (BZ) - means good work.
Charlie Mike (CM) - continues to mean mission. Go straight ahead.
11 Bravo - Army Infantry
40 Mike Mike - 40 millimeters
Charlie Foxtrot (CF) - ClusterF ** k