Radio communications often doesn't have the fidelity to make someone clearly understood. This is particulary true when letter codes are used, especially with noisy backgrounds at the receiving or transmitting end. Accents can also make radio transmissions difficult to understand. To ensure messages were clearly understood as much as possible, a phonetic alphabet was developed. Below are the phonetic alphabets of WWII and today.

Numbers, in general, weren't as big of a problem. The numbers "5" and "9," however,  similar enough to warrant attention. "5" would be pronounced "Fi-yev" and "9" was pronounced "niner."

As and example, a pilot flying the aircraft 2S-S radioing the tower might say, "Fickle, deepseat sugar...." Fickle was the radio call sign of the tower, deepseat was the radio call sign of the 834th squadron, and "Sugar" would identify the plane with an "S" ID.

 

WWII Phonetic Alphabet

  1. Able
  2. Baker
  3. Charlie
  4. Dog
  5. Easy
  6. Fox
  7. George
  8. How
  9. Item
  10. Jig
  11. King
  12. Love
  13. Mike
  14. Nan
  15. Oboe
  16. Peter
  17. Queen
  18. Roger
  19. Sugar
  20. Tear
  21. Uncle
  22. Victor
  23. Whiskey
  24. X-Ray
  25. Yoke
  26. Zebra

Modern Phonetic Alphabet

  1. Alpha
  2. Bravo
  3. Charlie
  4. Delta
  5. Echo
  6. Foxtrot
  7. Golf
  8. Hotel
  9. India
  10. Juliet
  11. Kilo
  12. Lima
  13. Mike
  14. November
  15. Oscar
  16. Papa
  17. Quebec
  18. Romeo
  19. Sierra
  20. Tango
  21. Uniform
  22. Victor
  23. Whiskey
  24. X-Ray
  25. Yankee
  26. Zulu

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