Army Zulu Time: What You Should Know

I used to work at a factory where the time clock, along with other clocks throughout the system were set on military time. I always would get a laugh when we would get a new employee who would have a dumbfounded look on their face when they would look at the clock and wonder why it would say 13 at 1PM. I would study the individual to see if they asked anyone about it.

Being the pranksters we were, the employee would gain answers such as “we are using the Russian time method,” or “that is (name of the company) time and you will be released when it says 20.” If you can think of any prank from it, we probably used it. The fact is, military time is easier to understand then our civilian time methods.

In today’s post, we are going to look even closer at military time. This post is: Army Zulu Time: What You Should Know.

Army Alphabetical Time Standards

The Army has long used alphabetical standards in most operations. These alphabetical standards are denoted with words. The reason behind the words is for easier understanding when a soldier has an accent. Naturally, Zulu stands for Z and Army Zulu Time is a standard based on time zones that almost everyone in the world uses.

When we consider world time zones, the main reference point is Greenwich, England. The Royal Observatory is located in Greenwich, and back in 1851, Sir George Airy established that point the Prime Meridian. To put it in simple terms, this is where the clock starts at zero. The majority of ships used Greenwich and the Prime Meridian as their main reference point. The Prime Meridian is supposed to be at zero degrees, zero minutes and zero seconds, but the fact is, it is slightly off by a few seconds. But, the world still uses it as zero, and the Army is no exception.

So Army Zulu Time is the time at the Prime Meridian. So if an Army officer is asked at 7AM what time it is, and he is in Greenwich, he would state, “It is zero seven hundred Zulu.” If he had to write it, he would write 0700Z.

When a person moves East, the time zones would change starting at A or Alpha and move to up to M or Mike moving ahead in time by 1 hour each letter. So if it was the same time as in the example above and I was East 2 time zones from that officer, I would say, “It is zero nine hundred Bravo.”

Moving West from Greenwich, the time goes backwards, and the letters start with N or November and move to Y or Yankee. So if Chuck was 2 time zones to the West of that officer and was asked the time, he would say, “It is zero five hundred Oscar.

Now let’s consider where some of our troops could be at 1500Z.

  • Baghdad, Iraq 18ooC pronounced eighteen hundred Charlie

  • Kabul, Afghanistan 1900D pronounced nineteen hundred Delta

  • New York City 1000R pronounced one thousand Romeo

It is actually quite simple, and at the end of this post, I will share some websites that can help you learn the Army Zulu Time easier.

Here are the time zones in Army Zulu Time:

Alpha Time Zone+1:00
Bravo Time Zone+2:00
Charlie Time Zone+3:00
Delta Time Zone+4:00
Echo Time Zone+5:00
Foxtrot Time Zone+6:00
Golf Time Zone+7:00
Hotel Time Zone+8:00
India Time Zone+9:00
Kilo Time Zone+10:00
Lima Time Zone+11:00
Mike Time Zone+12:00
November Time Zone-1:00
Oscar Time Zone-2:00
Papa Time Zone-3:00
Quebec Time Zone-4:00
Romeo Time Zone-5:00
Sierra Time Zone-6:00
Tango Time Zone-7:00
Uniform Time Zone-8:00
Victor Time Zone-9:00
Whiskey Time Zone-10:00
X-ray Time Zone-11:00
Yankee Time Zone-12:00
Zulu Time Zone+0:00

Final Words

Hopefully this provides a better understanding of Army Zulu Time. Share this with those civilians who are unfamiliar with military time, and how it operates.

The other item I need to mention is when anyone uses J or Julie, that is describing the local time where they are. If 2 soldiers are in the same time zone, they would end the time answer with Julie.

Do you have any comments or questions? I tried to be completely accurate, but if you notice any mistakes, please tell me.

Thank you for visiting, and have a great day!

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. The Top 10 Army Artillery Shells Of All Time
  2. Top 10 Army Pistols of All Time
  3. The Top 15 Army Leadership Failures Of All Time
  4. Times When Disobeying A Direct Order Is The Right Thing To Do
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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