The Phonetic Military Alphabet that is.

We've all heard it before, often in old war movies (you are watching old war movies, right? It's in the Dreamcatcher Pyramid of Greatness). Anyway, they'll call over the walkie-talkie, "This is Charlie Company in drop zone Zulu do you read" or something like that. But what does it mean? Well, anybody familiar with the Phonetic Military Alphabet could tell you that company "C" which was probably preceded by companies "A" and "B" just landed in the area designated as location "Z". The letters are just read out as words which are specifically designed to be easier to recognize, even in the ear-splitting chaos of war. This is because many letters in the english alphabet are just too easy to confuse with each other - especially those ending in the common "ee" sound such as B, C, D, E, G, P, T, V, and Z. Numbers on the other hand are mostly unique in their sounds with the exception of nine; which could be confused with five and so is called out as "niner".

Now you might say, "I ain't in the military, why should I know this crap?" Well, in this day and age of call order products, cell phones, and indian call centers you can easily find yourself talking over an unreliable cell phone network to someone who doesn't speak english so well. In such conversations, it is helpful to be able to spell out what you mean in a method other than just common alphabetical terms. 

So, instead of spelling out your home town as Dee-Eee-Tee-Arr-Ohh-Aye-Tee and hoping that Gupta on the other end doesn't mark you down as living in BDEROKD ( which is possibly his hometown) you can pheonetically spell it out to him as DELTA-ECHO-TANGO-ROMEO-OSCAR-INDIA-TANGO and be confident that your order for that Mother Fuckin' Wallet will be sent to the correct address.

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