marine radio afghanistan

A U.S. Marine prepares to call in a cache find during a patrol in Southern Shorsurak, Helmand province, Afghanistan on June 20, 2010. (Sgt. Mark Fayloga/USMC)

The phonetic alphabet is a list of specified words adopted by the U.S. military to identify letters in a message transmitted by phone or radio.

More accurately known as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (IRSA), the military uses this alphabet to clearly communicate codes, acronyms, and slang. For example, if you heard “Charlie Mike” that would mean “continue mission.”

A   Alpha

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


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