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How to Recognize, Decipher, and Use NATO Phonetic Alphabet

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
In the militaries of all NATO nations, a series of world-renowned call letters and numbers are used to clearly transmit and receive verbal messages of the spelling of certain names or other information. Also, these call letters and numbers are given as titles to certain teams or territories so no mistakes of specifics become present. (i.e. Bravo Team, Sector Echo) The main purpose is simplicity along with easy pronunciation. Sometimes the misspelling of any data can have catastrophic consequences. The mastery of this alphabet is not only enjoyable, but it can also be used to verbally encode information to a friend while eavesdroppers are merely clueless.


  1. Substitute the following words for each letter of the word. Note the specific pronunciations.AAlphaAl-fahBBravoBrah-vohCCharlieChar-leeDDeltaDell-tahEEchoEck-ohFFoxtrotFoks-trotGGolfGolfHHotelHoh-telIIndiaIn-dee-ahJJulietJew-lee-etKKiloKey-lohLLimaLee-mahMMikeMikeNNovemberNo-vem-berOOscarOss-carPPapaPah-pahQQuebecKeh-beckRRomeoRow-me-ohSSierraSee-air-rahTTangoTang-goUUniformYoo-nih-formVVictorVik-toreWWhiskeyWiss-keyXXrayEcks-rayYYankeeYang-keyZZuluZoo-loo 1OneWun2TwoToo3ThreeTree4FourFow-er5FiveFife6Sixsix7SevenSev-en8EightAit9NinerNin-er0ZeroZee-ro
  2. Memorize the list so you can easily substitute the appropriate word for each letter. This makes speaking the actual alphabet simple.
  3. Practice with a friend constantly to speak fluent NATO phonetics. Enjoy the pleasure of being able to secretly talk to your friend without others knowing anything.


  • If you have trouble remembering the word that goes to any number or letter, approach this as if studying for a Spanish or French test. Constantly write down the alphabet and next to it repeatedly write the corresponding word to jam it into memory.
  • If you can't find a friend who is willing to learn it, explain to them the hilarity of being able to talk to each other with no one being able to understand. This makes passing secrets incredibly easy.
  • You can make up your own code by assigning different words for each letter.


  • Some people are clever, and you can't help that. With enough effort anyone can figure how the alphabet works. To avoid people catching on, never talk slowly or stumble on spelling.
  • This is not a secret code, simply a means to avoid confusion between similar sounding letters such as B and D, M and N, and so on, when being read over low-quality radio or from distances.

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Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Recognize, Decipher, and Use NATO Phonetic Alphabet. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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