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UncategorizedA brief history of Phonetic Alphabets

A brief history of Phonetic Alphabets

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The military phonetic alphabets has 26 code words for communication. The Military Phonetic Alphabet is a communication tool for both military and civilians and is most commonly used to provide error-free spelling over the phone. Other military applications include communication codes, slang, and short codes. After reading this tutorial, you’ll be able to communicate your message to anyone. Usually, arm forces and technical departments use this insider strategy. The NATO and the military phonetic alphabets are the same alphabets used to spell out words and phrases or communicate in code. Government departments such as the US Army Infantry, US Navy, US Marines, US Air force, and even other militaries worldwide use these code words regularly. To appropriately use the alphabet, employ these different words to spell out words while enunciating each syllable. Uniform, for example, is the term for the letter “U,” which is pronounced “you need form.”

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash
Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Similarly, there are many words that pronunciation is different in military codes. An essential part of military phonetic alphabets is to communicate them properly. Otherwise, it can result in fatalities and other disastrous outcomes.

Importance of Military Phonetic Alphabet

The Military Phonetic Alphabet is essential for military members to communicate mission status, locations, codes, and other critical information. For example, if orders are given to “muster at building DMG,” appropriate Military Phonetic Alphabet usage would be “muster at building Delta-Mike-Golf.”

The brief history of Military Phonetic Alphabet’s

Though the first acknowledged phonetic alphabet was approved in 1927, it wasn’t until World War II that the Military Phonetic Alphabet became a reality. The United States adopted the Joint Army/Navy radiotelephony alphabet in 1941 to unify communication across all military branches. However, numerous nations employed their versions, and the Royal Air Force adopted a comparable alphabet to the United States.

After the letters “A” and “B,” the system developed by the United States was dubbed Able Baker. The Able Baker alphabet was developed by the US, UK, and Australian armed services in 1943 to improve communication amongst allies. After testing among speakers from 31 countries, the alphabet was further changed, recognizing the necessity for a worldwide alphabet that could be utilized in English, French, Spanish, and other languages.

The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, sometimes known as the Military Phonetic Alphabet, was standardized in 1957. (IRSA). The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) designed this alphabet, used by both the US and NATO. Only four words from the Able Baker alphabet are still used today: Charlie, Mike, Victor, and X-Ray. Words like Jig, King, Love, and Yoke were no longer used in the old military alphabet.

Common Military codes/slang/phrases:

There is a long list of military phonetic alphabets, but this guide discusses a few of them for the learners’ understanding. These areas follow:

11 Bravo – Army Infantry

40 Mike Mike – 40 Millimeter Grenade or M203 Grenade Launcher

Bravo Zulu – Good Job or Well Done

Charlie Foxtrot – Cluster F**k

Charlie Mike – Continue Mission

Echo Tango Sierra – Expiration Term of Service (someone who is about to complete their tour of duty)

Lima Charlie – Loud and Clear

Mikes – Minutes

November Golf – NG or No Go (fail)

Oscar-Mike – On the Move

Tango Mike – Thanks Much

Tango Uniform – Toes Up, meaning killed or destroyed or defective equipment

Tango Yankee – Thank You

Whiskey Charlie – Water Closet (toilet)

Whiskey Pete – White Phosphorus

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – WTF


BOHICA: Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. Vietnam-era slang that has endured.

FUBAR – Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.

SNAFU – Situation Normal: All Fucked Up

Learning the Military Alphabet Tips:

Don’t reinvent the wheel with flashcards– On one side of each of the 26 flashcards, write the letter and the appropriate Military Alphabet phrase. Make cards for proverbs, military slang, and other terms you want to learn, as well as their definitions. Making flashcards is quick and easy, and they will serve as a helpful reference, as you know.

Write the alphabet from memory – Try to write the Military Alphabet from memory. At least once a day, do this and attempt to get as many letters correct as possible.

Ask a friend to put you to the exam – not everyone is a visual learner. Request that a friend or family member test your knowledge and assist you in keeping track of the letters you can’t remember.

Record yourself and listen to it-Make an audio recording of yourself repeating the military alphabet back to yourself on your phone or computer. These terms will become engraved in your memory after some time spent listening.

Consider the military alphabet as you read and usually write — imagining the military alphabet can help you get more familiar with it. Consider how to spell common nouns in a military-style manner. It is a fantastic approach to improve your alphabet knowledge and application.

Read the alphabet before going to bed– If you have trouble remembering things, consider spending some time reading the alphabet before bed. Actors, attorneys, and musicians have all adopted this strategy to learn knowledge quickly.

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