Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Alpha and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

This month I'm taking on the blogger A to Z challenge. What's better than starting off with the alphabet itself?

The military uses what's known as the NATO phonetic alphabet. The more accurate name for this is International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet. "Phonetic" is technically the wrong term because it refers to the actual sounds that a single letter makes. The NATO alphabet on the other hand is used to solve the common problem of spelling out words during radio communication. Sometimes B sounds like too much like D, so there's a specific word for each letter. B as in Bravo. D as in Delta. In firefighting we use this alphabet a lot. Whether it's communicating on the radio about what resources have arrived on scene (maybe it's a helicopter with the call sign 2BH, then over the radio we'd say Two Bravo Hotel) or simply spelling out words or names that are easily mixed up with something else (Boyle vs Doyle) this alphabet makes communication a lot easier.

 Here's the complete Spelling Alphabet (with phonetic pronunciation): 
A-Alpha (AL-FAH)
B-Bravo (BRAH-VOH)
C-Charlie (CHAR-LEE)
D-Delta (DEL-TAH)
E-Echo (ECK-OH)
F-Foxtrot (FOKS-TROT)
G-Golf (GOLF)
H-Hotel (HOH-TEL)
I-India (IN-DEE-AH)
J-Juliet (JEW-LEE-ETT)
K-Kilo (KEY-LOH)
L-Lima (LEE-MAH)
M-Mike (MIKE)
N-November (NO-VEM-BER)
O-Oscar (OSS-CAH--although if I said it would sound more like OSS-KER)
P-Papa (PAH-PAH)
Q-Quebec (KEH-BECK)
R-Romeo (ROW-MEE-OH)
S-Sierra (SEE-AIR-RAH)
T-Tango (TANG-GO)
U-Uniform (YOU-NEE-FORM)
V-Victor (VICK-TAH--or VICK-TOR)
W-Whiskey (WISS-KEY)
Y-Yankee (YANG-KEE)
Z-Zulu (ZOO-LOO)

My favorite letters to use are Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF). And I especially like to pretend I'm on the radio--"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Over."

Do you use this international spelling alphabet in your job? Why? Is it effective?
What's your favorite acronym?

Comments or suggestions on the Wild Fire Lady blog?

Fire Away!


  1. I like that image of you all wildfire messy. Gotta agree on the Whiskey Tango foxtrot combo.

    Popped in from the AtoZ Challenge.

  2. lol What is bbbjcimws?? We don't use this alphabet at work. We do the more annoying "N as in nancy, D as in David, T as in Thomas." Thing. I should incorporate these, though. It might make my day more interesting. :)

    1. Call centres that use names confuse me, who wouldn't want to use the Nato alphabet? Go for it baffle them then blog about it:)
      Happy A to Z