Military Phonetic Alphabet & Call Signs for Letters

To make communication precise and more efficient, the military assigns special code names to all the letters of the alphabet. This is simply called the military alphabet. The call sign for each letter is standardized across the military and in use by multiple agencies inside and outside of the government from the CIA to your local police force.

What is the Military Aphabet and Why is it Used?

Military call signs are a not only a colorful way to send messages and identify people. They are used to identify letters spoken over the radio and through other coms in all of the armed forces including the army, navy, air force and marines. The reason for the military phonetic alphabet is a simple one: when speaking letters out load they are easily misunderstood. Saying their common name like “a” or “e” leaves room for error because the letter “E” and “B” can often be mistaken. “B” becomes a “E”, for instance.

The army requires precision in all communication. To avoid any confusion the military uses a phonetic alphabet that makes communications efficient and effective. This special alphabet used by the military and a few other organizations like law enforcement, and other government agencies, clearly identifies letters with a name. To learn this military alphabet, jump down to our military alphabet call sign table below.

How Does the Military Alphabet Work?

Just as in identifying individual soldiers in the military with their own colorful nickname or call sign, each letter has a standard “code name” or nickname given. Everyone in the military uses these so messages are accurately transcribed and received. These phonetic pronounciations of letters can be done thorugh signaling in morse code as well as over the radio or unit com.

You probably already know the most common military letter call signs are “Zulu” for Z, and “Alpha” for “A”, but this list rounds out the ones you may not know like “O” and “N”. The table below has the military call signs for all letters of the alphabet.

Military Letter Call Sign (Phonetic Alphabet)

Chart with military call signs for the letters of the alphabet. Includes call signs from WWII.
Alphabet LetterMilitary Call SignCall Sign WWII
AAlphaAfirm (Able)
IIndiaInt (Item)
NNovemberNegat (Nan)
OOscarOption (Oboe)
PPapaPrep (Peter)

Military Call Signs for Letters w/ Morse Code & Pre-WWII Signs

Table with the military's call signs for letters and the morse code signal plus WWII signs for previous.
LetterCurrent Military Call SignMorse Code191319271938
AAlfa (or Alpha). _AbleAffirmativeAfirm
BBravo_ . . .BoyBakerBaker
CCharlie_ . _ .CastCastCast
DDelta_ . .DogDogDog
FFoxtrot. . _ .FoxFoxFox
GGolf_ _ .GeorgeGeorgeGeorge
HHotel. . . .HaveHypoHypo
IIndia. .ItemInterrogatoryInt
JJuliett. _ _ _JigJigJig
KKilo_ . _KingKingKing
LLima. _ . .LoveLoveLove
MMike_ _MikeMikeMike
NNovember_ .NanNegativeNegat
OOscar_ _ _OboeOptionOption
PPapa. _ _ .PupPreparatoryPrep
QQuebec_ _ . _QuackQuackQueen
RRomeo. _ .RushRogerRoger
SSierra. . .SailSailSail
UUniform. . _UnitUnitUnit
VVictor. . . _ViceViceVictor
WWhiskey. _ _WatchWilliamWilliam
XX-ray_ . . _X-rayX-rayX-ray
YYankee_ . _ _YokeYokeYoke
ZZulu_ _ . .ZedZedZed
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