Sunday, February 15, 2004


Here's a question from someone who thought it might be stupid...and wanted to remain anonymous...
(There ARE stupid questions...but this is definitely not one of them.)
(no military question is ever stupid coming from a civilian)

"Hey Drill Sgt.

You seem to be the Army/xanga version of "Mail Call" on the History Channel! Haha.

I got a question for ya. It may be a stupid one so I didn't post it on your xanga (save me the humilation). When people say "Roger.." or "Roger that," why is it "roger?" And where/when/how did that come to be?
I asked a Sergeant Major once (who was once a Ranger), and all he could come up with is "because of Roger's Rangers." I don't know if thats true or not, but what I DO know is that he wasn't completely sure of the answer to this question either. As of yet, no one could help me. So now, I turn to you."

First off...comparing me to R. Lee Ermey (the guy on "MAIL CALL") is like comparing your little sister's roller skates to my Hummvee. That guy rocks...even for a Marine lol.
And now for the long but hopefully not that long answer...

(I never know how long these are going to be...and except for that stupid morality answer are done in one take lol.)
The Army has always used a different language for radio communications. In today's Army we use what are called PROWORDS to clarify certain responses. The purpose behind this is that when you are at the extreme end of your radios range and your batteries are about to go tits up...transmissions tend to be filled with static and come in very weak. PROWORDS are designed to be common to all military personnel and easy to understand when communications are shaky. Here are some examples...
(Any future soldiers better pay have to know all these and many more before you make it out of Basic Training.)

ROGER-message received and understood
WILCO-"I will comply" or in other words "I understand and will follow your orders immediately" (ROGER and WILCO are NEVER used together, the meaning of ROGER is contained within WILCO...anyone who says "ROGERWILCO" either has never been in the military or is an idiot lol)
OVER-"my transmission is complete and I expect a response"
OUT-"my transmission is complete and no reply is expected or necessary" (same as ROGERWILCO...these are never used together. "OVER and OUT" means "I suck and shouldn't be allowed near a radio"
SAY AGAIN-"please repeat your transmission...I did not understand" (NEVER say "REPEAT" if you mean SAY AGAIN...REPEAT means "send that last bombardment of artillery fire again" You can see how this would be catastrophic if someone got confused lol)
There are scores of these PROWORDS but these are a few of the more common ones.
For the same reasons stated above, the Army uses a phonetic alphabet when transmitting over the radio. simply saying "A" "B" "C" ...etc would be prone to getting lost in momentary static. Therefore when we mean "A"...we say "ALPHA"

(stay with me...I'm setting this up for a reason lol)

The letter "R" in todays phonetic alphabet is transmitted as "ROMEO", but it wasnt always that way.
The phonetic alphabet has changed over the years. If you watched Saving Private Ryan for instance, you heard them talk about things like "DOG" sector..."ABLE" Company..."BAKER" Company etc. ( Band of Brothers they were in "EASY" Company)
So anyway...back in the 40s and 50s, "A" "B" "C" "D" "E"......and "R" were sent as "ABLE" "BAKER" "CHARLIE" "DOG" "EASY" ......and "ROGER"
(Today they are "ALPHA" "BRAVO" "CHARLIE" "DELTA" "ECHO" ....and "ROMEO")

Are we still trackin' ?
here's the punchline....

Back in the days when the use of MORSE CODE was common, the letter "R" was widely understood to mean "RECEIVED". In other words ...

Next question...
:) That Mail Call comment made my day lol


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