Converting Military Time or Army Time

Learn How to Convert Military or Army Time to Civilian Time

In daily life, most of us use the standard 12-hour clock to tell time (also called civilian time by military personel). This method is simple beause we are used to it, but it can cause confusion. It requires us to say AM or PM, since the same hour is used for afternoon and morning.

This causes multiple problems from missed meetings to miscommunicated events. How many times have you missed a flight or meeting after setting your alarm clock to PM instead of AM?  This is why agenices and organizations like the army, marines and navy depend on military time–the 24-hour clock.

Converting to Army Time

Converting from civilian to army time is fairly easy. the first 12 hours are exactly the same, but single digits have a 0 in front. 3:00 AM is simply 0300. 10:00 AM is 1000 in army time.

Here’s a quick example:

Civilian Time to Military Time

A short table of civilian time and corresponding military times. Quick easy reference to convert times faster.
Civilian TimeMilitary Time
12:00 AM0000
1:00 AM0100
6:00 AM0600
10:15 AM1015
12:00 PM1200
2:00 PM1400
2:34 PM1434
9:00 PM2100
9:35:45 PM21:35:45
10:00 PM2200
11:59 PM2359

Army time can be expressed as a number without colons (0100), or with colons (01:00 or 01:15:24). Usually, when using seconds, military times are expressed with colons.

It’s fairly simple to convert  from civilian time to military time using a chart.

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How to Convert Civilian to Army Time

Converting from civilian to army time or miliatry time is not difficult. It just takes getting used to and a simple system.

You can simply subtract 12 from any hour over 12 to get the corresponding time in standard 12-hour format. You can also do this in reverse and add 12 to any hour to convert PM times in standard format to military time.

The 24-hour clock always starts at 0000 and makes it way up to 2400.  The military day starts at midnight, as it does in civilian time.  0000 is midnight. The end of the day is also at midnight.  The last minute of the day is at 2359. Military digital watches have no 2400 hours, although servicemen may call midnight 2400, its never shown on an instrument panel or watch. Just remember, 2400 is really 0000!

When using a 24 hour clock, the numbers are always in thousands with four numbers. Excpet when seconds are used. Then the numbers are in groups of six or hundred thousands. For instance, midnight is 0000.  You would read it as “it’s zero hundred hours.”  Where we would say, “it’s one o-clock in the afternoon,” the military would say that it is “ thirteen hundred hours” (1300).  This may seem extremely confusing right now, but will get clearer and easier to understand.  Once you learn it, you will be able to see how much simpler and clearer 24 hour time is, and why companies and military groups use it.

Why Use Army Time?

The 24-hour clock numbers hours from 0 to 24. There is only one number for each hour to eliminate confusion. The first wo numbers in the four number set indicate the hour, and the last two indicate minutes.

Precision is exceptionally important to the military and other organizations. Being on tie, and getting the time correct can really mean life or death. Planning operations across time zones is also more confusing using standard 12-hour format. Imagine trying to plan a high-priority mission involving platoons and assets in different parts of the world. You want to be absolutely certain your times are correct, and accounting for time zone changes.

Logistics companies and other non-military companies that depend on timeliness also use military time for its lack of confusion, and precision. It helps them plan and assess their performance. Using a single time format that eliminates confusion makes it that much easier to excel.

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