The Military Alphabet

The military alphabet, or more properly the phonetic alphabet, exists in innumerable variants.

If any one variant can be viewed as “most correct”, it is the current NATO standard military alphabet.

However, even in the NATO standard military alphabet, numerous spelling variations are known to exist.

This version of the military alphabet is also known as the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) code.

Variations of the Military Alphabet

This chart shows the NATO standard military alphabet along with:

  • A military alphabet used by the U.S. Navy before 1954
  • The military alphabet used by the U.S. Army in 1916
  • The commercial Western Union phonetic alphabet
Letter NATO U.S. Navy (Pre-1954) U.S. Army (1916) Western Union
A Alpha Able Able Adams
B Bravo Baker Buy Boston
C Charlie Charlie Cast Chicago
D Delta Dog Dock Denver
E Echo Easy Easy Easy
F Foxtrot Fox Fox Frank
G Golf George George George
H Hotel How Have Henry
I India Item Item Ida
J Juliet Jig Jig John
K Kilo King King King
L Lima Love Love Lincoln
M Mike Mike Mike Mary
N November Nan Nap New York
O Oscar Oboe Opal Ocean
P Papa Peter Pup Peter
Q Quebec Queen Quack Queen
R Romeo Roger Rush Roger
S Sierra Sugar Sail Sugar
T Tango Tare Tape Thomas
U Uniform Uncle Unit Union
V Victor Victor Vice Victor
W Whiskey William Watch William
X Xray X-ray X-ray X-ray
Y Yankee Yoke Yoke Young
Z Zulu Zebra Zed Zero

Example Usage of the Military Alphabet

Using the military alphabet to spell out “FortLiberty, we would say:

Foxtrot, Oscar, Romeo, Tango, Lima, India, Bravo, Echo, Romeo, Tango, Yankee

Military Alphabet Pronounciation Guide

The following military alphabet pronounciation guide is excerpted from FM 24-19: Radio Operators Handbook.

Letter Pronounciation
A AL FAH
B BRAH VOH
C CHAR LEE
D DELL TAH
E ECK OH
F FOKS TROT
G GOLF
H HOH TELL
I IN DEE AH
J JEW LEE ETT
K KEY LOH
L LEE MAH
M MIKE
N NO VEM BER
O OSS CAH
P PAH PAH
Q KEH BECK
R ROW ME OH
S SEE AIR RAH
T TANG GO
U YOU NEE FORM
V VIK TAH
W WISS KEY
X ECKS RAY
Y YANG KEY
Z ZOO LOO

The Numeric Military Alphabet

There is also a military “alphabet” for numbers, which is mainly a pronounciation guide.

Number Pronounciation
0 Zeero
1 Wun
2 Too
3 Tree
4 Fow-er
5 Fife
6 Siks
7 Seven
8 Ait
9 Nine
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