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Author Topic: One Alphabet Used By ALL SERViCES  (Read 1137 times)

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Offline sepuluh

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One Alphabet Used By ALL SERViCES
« on: March 05, 2015, 04:12:59 AM »
One Alphabet Used By ALL SERViCES

The phonetic alphabet was developed to cut down on confusion. Two words may sound alike, but when spelled they are completely different words. Spelling also became confusing with "b", "d" and "e", therefore this alphabet was developed to ease problems in communications. By 1957, we again have one alphabet used by all services.

In the beginning, pilots yelled and waved at each other in open cockpits with the engine roaring, the wind howling. Then, to communicate with people on the ground, pilots wiggled the wings or flew low and buzzed the barn. Pilots quickly advanced and learned to communicate by throwing things out of the aircraft: things that contained written messages, things in bottles, things in packages, things that exploded.

When newly invented radios were installed in aircraft, aviation communications truly began. For safety and other reasons, pilots recognized a need to communicate faster, more effectively, and more efficiently than ever. Most pilots were still operating in open cockpits, but even enclosed cockpits were noisy. The radios were noisy, too. Bad weather interfered with radio transmissions, and events outside the cockpit - like seagulls, rapid weapons-fire and flak-provided more distractions. Signals were lost; words were chopped off. Pilots needed and developed an abbreviated way of talking, a jargon with a redundancy factor, that would work despite the limitations of the existing technology.

A naval signal, "Bravo Zulu" conveyed by flaghoist or voice radio, meaning "well done"; it has also passed into the spoken and written vocabulary. It can be combined with the "negative" signal, spoken or written NEGAT, to say "NEGAT Bravo Zulu," or "not well done."

There are some "myths and legends" attached to this signal. The one most frequently heard has Admiral Halsey sending it to ships of Task Force 38 during World War II. He could not have done this, since the signal did not exist at that time. "Bravo Zulu" actually comes from the Allied Naval Signal Book (ACP 175 series), an international naval signal code adopted after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949. Until then, each navy had used its own signal code and operational manuals. World War II experience had shown that it was difficult, or even impossible, for ships of different navies to operate together unless they could readily communicate, and ACP 175 was designed to remedy this.

In the U.S. Navy signal code, used before ACP 175, "well done" was signaled as TVG, or "Tare Victor George" in the U.S. phonetic alphabet of that time. ACP 175 was organized in the general manner of other signal books, that is, starting with 1-flag signals, then 2-flag and so on. The 2-flag signals were organized by general subject, starting with AA, AB, AC, ... AZ, BA, BB, BC, ... BZ, and so on. The B- signals were called "Administrative" signals, and dealt with miscellaneous matters of administration and housekeeping. The last signal on the "Administrative" page was BZ, standing for "well done."

At that time BZ was not rendered as "Bravo Zulu," but in each navy's particular phonetic alphabet. In the U.S. Navy, BZ was spoken as "Baker Zebra." In the meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) had adopted English as the international air traffic control language. They developed a phonetic alphabet for international aviation use, designed to be as "pronounceable" as possible by flyers and traffic controllers speaking many different languages. This was the "Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta..." alphabet used today. The Navy adopted this ICAO alphabet in March 1956. It was then that "Baker Zebra" finally became "Bravo Zulu."

A phonetic alphabet is a list of words used to identify letters in a message transmitted by radio or telephone. Spoken words from an approved list are substituted for letters. For example, the word "Navy" would be "November Alfa Victor Yankee" when spelled in the phonetic alphabet. This practice helps to prevent confusion between similar sounding letters, such as "m" and "n", and to clarify communications that may be garbled during transmission.

An early version of the phonetic alphabet appears in the 1913 edition of The Bluejackets’ Manual. Found in the Signals section, it was paired with the Alphabetical Code Flags defined in the International Code. Both the meanings of the flags (the letter which they represent) and their names (which make up the phonetic alphabet) were selected by international agreement. Later editions included the Morse code signal as well.

Flags with special meanings in Navy signaling were given extra names. These five flags are called governing flags. They convey specific information about how to interpret a signal based on their position among the other flags raised. The governing flags are called Afirm (Affirmative), Int (Interrogatory), Negat (Negative), Option (Optional), Prep (Preparatory). The Navy often substituted these special names for the standard word listed in the phonetic alphabet.

    1913   1916   1927   1938   1939   1957   Signal
Navy   Army   Navy   Navy   Army   Present   Flag
A   Able   Able   Affirmative   Afirm   Affirm   Alfa   
B   Boy   Boy   Baker   Baker   Baker   Bravo   
C   Cast   Cast   Cast   Cast   Cast   Charlie   
D   Dog   Dock   Dog   Dog   Dog   Delta   
E   Easy   Easy   Easy   Easy   Easy   Echo   
F   Fox   Fox   Fox   Fox   Fox   Foxtrot   
G   George   George   George   George   George   Golf   
H   Have   Have   Hypo   Hypo   Hypo   Hotel   
I   Item   Item   Interrogatory   Int   Inter   India   
J   Jig   Jig   Jig   Jig   Jig   Juliett   
K   King   King   King   King   King   Kilo   
L   Love   Love   Love   Love   Love   Lima   
M   Mike   Mike   Mike   Mike   Mike   Mike   
N   Nan   Nan   Negative   Negat   Negat   November   
O   Oboe   Opal   Option   Option   Option   Oscar   
P   Pup   Pup   Preparatory   Prep   Prep   Papa   
Q   Quack   Quack   Quack   Queen   Queen   Quebec   
R   Rush   Rush   Roger   Roger   Roger   Romeo   
S   Sail   Snail   Sail   Sail   Sail   Sierra   
T   Tare   Tare   Tare   Tare   Tare   Tango   
U   Unit   Unit   Unit   Unit   Unit   Uniform   
V   Vice   Vice   Vice   Victor   Victor   Victor   
W   Watch   Watch   William   William   William   Whiskey   
X   X-ray   X-Ray   X-ray   X-ray   X-Ray   X-ray   
Y   Yoke   Yoke   Yoke   Yoke   Yoke   Yankee   
Z   Zed   Zed   Zed   Zed   Zed   Zulu   

During World War II, the U.S. military needed a system of alphanumerics so field personnel could talk over their radios and be understood with reasonable accuracy. Due to noise from weapons fire, static, the quality of equipment, and other factors that made communications difficult, the military worked with experts and developed this code from existing codes dating back to the Civil War. Their new code was dubbed the Phonetic Alphabet. Once the name Phonetic Alphabet was in use, it was impossible to change. It is pretty hard to argue with the military, especially in wartime.

Up until early 1941 the US Army, Navy and other services used different phonetics; the Army used word "ABLE" for "A" while the Navy used "AFFIRM". They were mostly similar but were not the same and each service jealously guarded their own version and would not agree on a common version. The service chiefs could see problems with this in the inevitable involvement in World War II.

The chief signals representatives of all services were "invited" to a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where they were put in a "lock in" with all the necessary references and material, dictionaries, pads etc. They were told that they would be fed etc. but that the door would be otherwise locked and that no one could leave until they had derived and agreed upon a common phonetic alphabet to be used for all services. This they eventually did.

They used this but it differed from the other allies, principally British, and so some confusion was caused. A common alphabet had to be adopted. This was derived and came into force on the 1st January, 1943. It was the same with a few changes which were - Golf, Sugar, and Zed.

    German   Navy   Army   1941   1943   1945
A   Anton   Afirm   Able   Able   Able   Able
B   Berta/Bruno   Baker   Baker   Baker   Baker   Baker
C   Caeser   Charlie   Charlie   Charlie   Charlie   Charlie
D   Dora   Dog   Dog   Dog   Dog   Dog
E   Emil   Easy   Easy   Easy   Easy   Easy
F   Friedrich/Fritz   Fox   Fox   Fox   Fox   Fox
G   Gustav   George   George   George   Golf   Golf
H   Heinrich   How   How   How   How   How
I   Ida   Int   Item   Item   Item   Item
J   Josef   Jig   Jig   Jig   Jig   Jig
K   Konrad/Kurfust   King   King   King   King   King
L   Ludwig   Love   Love   Love   Love   Love
M   Martha   Mike   Mike   Mike   Mike   Mike
N   Nordpol   Negat   Nan   Nan   Nan   Nan
O   Otto   Option   Oboe   Oboe   Oboe   Oboe
P   Paula   Prep   Peter   Peter   Peter   Peter
Q   Quelle   Queen   Queen   Queen   Queen   Queen
R   Richard   Roger   Roger   Roger   Roger   Roger
S   Siegfried   Sugar   Sugar   Sail   Sugar   Sugar
T   Toni   Tare   Tare   Tare   Tare   Tare
U   Ulrich   Uncle   Uncle   Uncle   Uncle   Uncle
V   Viktor   Victor   Victor   Victor   Victor   Victor
W   Wilhelm   William   William   William   William   William
X   Xantippe   X-ray   X-ray   X-ray   X-ray   X-ray
Y   Ypern   Yoke   Yoke   Yoke   Yoke   Yoke
Z   Zeppelin   Zebra   Zebra   Zebra   Zed   Zebra

Sources: Phonetic Alphabet and Signal Flags
Regimental Division, Office Chief of Signal
WWII German Phonetic Alphabet

The words chosen to represent some letters have changed since the phonetic alphabet was introduced. When these changes occur, they are made by international agreement. 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.

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