Cade's Corner: Accurate Communication Is as Easy as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie

Hi there. Cade here. 

There are very few things more important in a life-threatening survival situation than communication. Be it gathering information, better understanding a potential/current situation, or calling for help.

And the degree to how accurate this communication is could be the difference between living and dying!

Think about it. There are dozens of accent variations here within the United States alone. Imagine taking three people – one from Boston, one from New Orleans, and one from San Diego – and having them read the same sentence.

There's a good chance two in the group will have absolutely no idea what the third is saying! Now broaden this group to include several English speaking foreign countries and the miscommunication could be off the charts.

This is the primary reason why the military came up with the phonetic alphabet, also known as military alphabet, spelling alphabet, radio alphabet, or telephone alphabet.

Here's how it works. A standardized set of codewords are assigned in order to refer to the letters in the English alphabet. A = Alpha, B = Bravo, C= Charlie, and so on. This chart contains the full alphabet codewords:

Now... let me give you a few examples from my time in the SEAL teams to demonstrate why this was so vital.

When calling in an airstrike, the difference between the pilot hearing the letter "P" and the letter "T" was the difference between mission success and my entire platoon dying. Or when I called for a "hot extract" and if our location description was mistaken for an "N" when it was an "M."

Get my point? Again, in life-threatening situations there can be no room for error.

Now I've stressed the importance of accurate communications. But I want to talk about how urgent TIMELY information is as well.

Ask anyone that lives in a hurricane or tornado zone of our country. Getting accurate and timely information is the difference between their family getting ahead of the disaster, or getting covered by it.

Recently many residents of Texas and surrounding states had to endure prolonged power outages. Ask them how valuable accurate and timely information was!

And God forbid our country finds itself in a large-scale offensive military assault or terrorist strike. Accurate and timely information could protect us from extinction.

As of right now, we don’t know how the Russian invasion of Ukraine will play out. But if Russia expands its aggression to attack surrounding NATO countries, Americans could find themselves in an all-out war.

Yes, a little dark but also a call to action. If you want to ensure you always have access to timely, accurate information, my advice is to get at least one 4Patriots Liberty Band™ Tactical Radio. It's a small investment for invaluable information should the worst occur.


Be a survivor, not a statistic,
Cade Courtley
Former Navy SEAL / 4Patriots Contributor


  • Karen Eslick - March 17, 2022

    This is really helpful and I appreciate it.
    Thank you

  • David Hartford - March 15, 2022

    Good morning Mr Courtley.
    I found your topic today on info and the military alphabet humorous! It brought back many memories from my 22 year military career. Even with a set alphabet when you add in accents, national and foreign, it can be a lot of fun in practice, not so much in real world events. My time at NATO headquarters taught me many lessons about commo! Which were only verified in combat areas.
    Have some of your radios on order and cannot wait to try them out. I currently have an older solar radio which is bulkier I think than the new ones.
    Have a great day and may God bless you and your endeavors!


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