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Army Alphabet From A-Z And How To Learn It

Many people who have never served in the military refer to the phonetic alphabet as the Army alphabet. The truth is, there is no such thing as the Army alphabet. However, the U.S. military does use a uniform system, the phonetic alphabet, to convey English letters during military communications. For this post, however, we will refer to it as the Army alphabet.

The military’s phonetic alphabet, sometimes known as the Army alphabet, uses 26 words in lieu of the standard alphabet pronunciation. Each word represents a letter of the English alphabet.

This army alphabet reduces communication errors and it is commonly known as the NATO phonetic alphabet. This army alphabet, also known as the phonetic alphabet, was adopted in 1951.

Since 1951, the Army alphabet as it is known has also become a bit of short hand to represent phrases. For example, Tango Yankee means “thank you” and Bravo Zulu means “well done.”

If you’re planning on joining the military or need a refresher in the Army alphabet, it is probably easiest to memorize the Army alphabet by learning it backwards. In other words, start with the letter “Z” and go through the entire 26 letters of the Army alphabet until you learn them all and get to “A.”

Using the Army alphabet to spell your name, your street name and other things familiar to you can help too.

The Army alphabet is below.

A = Alpha
B = Bravo
C = Charlie
D = Delta
E = Echo
F = Foxtrot
G = Golf
H = Hotel
I = India
J = Juliet
K = Kilo
L = Lima
M = Mike
N = November
O = Oscar
P = Papa
Q = Quebec
R = Romeo
S = Sierra
T = Tango
U = Uniform
V = Victor
W = Whiskey
X = Xray
Y = Yankee
Z = Zulu

Is The Military Affected By Shutdowns From COVID-19?

It’s hard to believe, but it's been a while since late 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic began in China and spread worldwide within months. As the virus spread across the globe, many future recruits found themselves asking is the military affected by shutdown?

Basic and Individual Training
Luckily, creative U.S. military leaders devised multiple plans that included quarantines, reducing training class sizes, social distancing and other steps that the service branches took to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to trainees. Although many family members of future recruits still asked is the military affected by shutdown, the services quite successfully managed to fight the spread of COVID-19 and keep training on schedule.

And while new recruits found themselves asking in basic and individual training, is the military affected by shutdown, they completed training and marched on in their careers.

Military Operations
Is the military affected by shutdown? Not when it comes to operations. The U.S. military has taken steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but the OPTEMPO of the military has not slowed. The Navy continues its worldwide deployments and other branches of service continue their global rotations. It is a legitimate question though, to ask is the military affected by shutdown?

In fact, even high profile recruiting and awareness operations like the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds have continued their outreach after initially cancelling shows. Is the military affected by shutdown? Operationally speaking, no.

Pay and Benefits
Changes in the way the military carries out its day-to-day operations might have some military members, retirees and veterans asking themselves is the military affected by shutdown? Many federal workers have been asked to telecommute and some services, like records requests and historical support, have been slowed.

But the truth is, despite COVID-19 mitigation protocols, vital services like veteran benefits and military pay have not been impacted. In fact, federal plans stipulate that human life and property be protected no matter what happens during a COVID crisis. Is the military affected by shutdown, not when it comes to veterans and military benefits needed to sustain life.

COVID-19 Vaccine
The Department of Defense has ordered all military members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the outcome of that order has yet to be determined. Certainly, some military members will request exemption based on a variety of reasons and their challenges will be scrutinized in legal channels, but for now, is the military affected by shutdown? No, the COVID-19 vaccine has been given widely to many military members and there is no evidence to suggest that a shutdown will be caused by the COVID-19 vaccine. Is the military affected by shutdown because of the COVID-19 vaccine? Nope.

Military Fashion & How It Became Mainstream

Military fashion. Two words that you never thought would go together, yet they do. Military fashion, that is, military-themed clothing, is a huge industry and it is more than a trend given military fashion has been around for decades.

Although some say that military fashion has been around since World War II, military fashion really came into American fashion culture in the 1960s and 1970s as soldiers came home from Vietnam and wore various components of their uniforms almost in defiance of a nation that didn’t welcome them home. They were proud of their service and some didn’t hide it. Fatigue pants and field jackets were popular amongst returning veterans.

Today, Vietnam Era military uniform items are considered vintage military fashion, but clothing manufacturers have figured out that the item doesn’t have to be authentic military issue in order to be considered military fashion.

The fashion industry has taken notice that Americans, and others throughout the world, love military-themed clothing because of its utility and practicality. Not to mention, it looks pretty good.

Today, it is not uncommon to see t-shirts, caps, hoodies, pants and jackets rocking camouflage patterns of various colors and designs. This urbanized style of military fashion is popular and doesn’t show any signs of slowing as a trend.

Boots are also a popular military fashion trend. They can come in different styles and materials that highlight the individuality of the wearer and a lack of conformity in a very conforming culture. Boots deliver a message about the person wearing them.

Field jackets and peacoats are a military fashion mainstay. Derived from the Army and Navy respectively, these two highly popular items are not only attractive additions to any ensemble, but they are highly functional fashion.

In recent years, cargo pants and shorts, made popular by battle dress uniforms, have taken the military fashion world by storm. These come in a variety of styles and military colors like black, green, khaki and brown, but some brands offer the trousers in camo patterns as well.

Military fashion, mostly, can be seen in casual settings. Those cargo pants go well with military-style boots and maybe a blazer over a camo pattern shirt. Remember, most fashion consultants believe that you should only wear one camo item in your ensemble. You’re not out to blend into the environment, you’re dressing to stand out.

And yes, even though Top Gun has come and gone, aviation jackets and glasses are still a thing and you will always look awesome rocking those items when it comes to military fashion.

Military Fatigues: What Are They?

If you serve in the U.S. military, you still might hear a couple of people referring to the primary military work uniform as military fatigues. In the next 20 years, that term will likely be obsolete as the people who once used it retire.

Military fatigues are a work uniform. They are used for labor intensive details, as a daily uniform, and also for combat. Today, they have other names, like battle dress or combat uniforms but military fatigues are once they were once known as.

Military fatigues have varied from branch to branch; some have had woodland patterns, others desert, and they have even been plain olive drab colored. A key feature of military fatigues is their durability, despite their oxymoron name, and lots of pockets.

Early American military soldiers wore elaborate and impractical uniforms during the first 100 years or so of the U.S. military’s existence. The uniforms were similar to what is now known as today’s service uniform, normally worn in an administrative or office environment. They are similar to a coat and tie worn by business men and women. Military fatigues weren’t even considered since the military was expected to look sharp, even as it fought. Military fatigues would likely have been considered slovenly.

As the U.S. military fought in wars, it began to understand that it needed a loose-fitting uniform that could allow soldiers to physically perform the many tasks required during combat. And for those of you who have served, it should come as no surprise that the uniform’s evolution took more than 100 years. The first large-scale use of military fatigues was during World War II.

How did military fatigues get their name? There is a lot of speculation and Army historians haven’t been able to pin the source, but it is believed that in the early days of the Army, laborious details were called fatigues. Eventually, as the uniform changed, soldiers performing these labor intensive details in the field wore the battle dress uniform and since they wore them during tiring, hard work, the uniforms eventually were tagged as military fatigues by the soldiers.

In 1981, the woodland camo battle dress uniform became the official duty uniform of the U.S. Army, but it arrived after military fatigues took its journey through the jungles of Vietnam. Through the early 2000s, BDUs would serve as the military’s primary military fatigues and then came a slew of variations until we arrived at what is known as the Army’s OCP uniform.

Military Doctor Benefits: Are They Worth It?

All branches of the military, with the exception of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Space Force, have military doctor billets. Being a military doctor can be rewarding because a military doctor doesn’t just serve the country, he or she also serves their patients. And in some cases, like flight surgeons, they can also be aviators on flight status (not necessarily pilots), a nice perk for those who can get the rating.

There are multiple paths to becoming a military doctor, but we will focus this post on the two more popular methods of becoming a military doctor.

To become a military doctor in the U.S. armed forces, there are two primary avenues: the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) or the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).

The USUHS, in Bethesda, Maryland, is sometimes referred to as America’s Medical School. It opened its doors in 1972 as a way to create more military doctors. Applicants accepted to the USUHS are placed on active-duty and their education is paid for by the U.S. government. Think of it as a service academy for the military doctor. Applicants can serve as commissioned officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and U.S. Public Health Service as a military doctor. Attendees of USUHS, though not military doctors, are considered military officers and must wear their uniforms to class and they are on active duty for the duration of medical school.

Prior to starting at USUHS, candidates are required to attend an officer orientation program to help them transition into military service. Once completed, they can begin their military doctor training. It’s important to note that once a student enters USUHS, they are commissioned as second lieutenants or ensigns, depending on branch choice. They earn O-1 pay while in school for the duration. They are also entitled to full military benefits like medical care, housing allowance and 30 days paid vacation.

Graduates of USUHS are required to serve a seven-year active-duty service commitment as a military doctor. They are then promoted to the rank of captain or the grade of O-3 upon attaining status as a military doctor. Applicants choosing to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service assume a ten-year active-duty obligation.

The branches have their scholarship programs located at HPSP Air Force, HPSP Navy and HPSP Army online. All of these are great ways to become a military doctor, but it is important to note that the HPSP is a scholarship program that enables candidates to attend the medical school of their choice. A candidate’s medical school tuition is paid for by the U.S. government and they receive a monthly stipend as they train to be a military doctor.

In HPSP, the military service portion is different as candidates are commissioned as an officer in the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) as opposed to USUHS where a candidate starts serving and wearing a uniform when they report to the school. In both cases, it leads to a person becoming a military doctor.

As an HPSP participant, your medical training is similar to civilians. Candidates attend medical schools of their choice on their way to becoming a military doctor and there are no military uniforms worn. However, scholars are required to attend officer training and one 45-day training session for each year they receive scholarship funds. Uniforms are required during training periods. Similar to USUHS, candidates must attend an officer orientation in their first two years. During the periods of officer orientation training and the 45-day training sessions, students are paid as O-1s.

Upon completion of their medical school training, candidates are given a $20,000 signing bonus for joining the Army, Navy or Air Force and they incur a one-year service obligation for every year they received scholarship funds. So, four years of medical school would require for years of service as a military doctor. Once you enter active duty, you become a captain or an O-3 in grade.

Air Force Vs Army: Which Branch Is Better?

A considerable amount of subjectivity comes into play when selecting a branch of service to join. If you are thinking about joining the U.S. military, your personal preferences should play heavily into what branch you select.

For example, if you like the ocean, maybe the U.S. Navy is a good fit for you. Do you want to learn an automotive technician vocation, then maybe becoming an U.S. Army mechanic is best for you? The point is that knowing what you want to get from the military is important before you go and visit a recruiter. There are several branches, with many jobs, but if you’ve narrowed it down to joining the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Army, then maybe this comparison Air Force vs Army post can help you.

Air Force Vs Army (Deployments)
Let’s face it, the primary mission of the U.S. military is to fight and win American wars. However, when it comes to deploying, there is a big difference, generally speaking, between the Air Force and the Army.

Since aircraft are extraordinarily valuable, many, not all, Air Force deployments tend to be locations that are relatively safer. For example, a fighter squadron might deploy to Kuwait to provide routine combat air patrols over an area, as opposed to an infantry company that might deploy to a combat outpost where they are in regular contact with the enemy. In this part of the Air Force Vs Army argument, one can argue that the Air Force is better, because it is safer, but if your goal is to join a ground combat specialty, then the Army wins here. As mentioned before, subjectivity weighs heavily.

Air Force Vs Army (Quality of Life)
Air Force personnel get a lot of grief from members of other branches of service and most of it is because of envy. Air Force bases are notorious for their world class gyms, first rate chow halls, and college-dorm-like barracks. Not to mention, Airmen tend to have the nicest and newest equipment.

Why does the Air Force have a great quality of life? The easy answer is if a person feels supported and cared for, they will likely stick around. In addition, there is an old standing joke in the Air Force ranks that has enlisted airmen saying, “I joined the Air Force because we send our officers to war.” While that is partially true, the Air Force does send its pilots into harm’s way while the majority of the support personnel are in relative safety back at base.

In the Army, that’s a little different. Given the Army has ground forces, it has to be within reach of its forward forces, so many times non-combat arms support personnel will be closer to combat than Air Force personnel. In recent years, The USAF has sent many combat arms personnel into harm’s way, but overall, the Army usually has more personnel in combat zones.

Back at garrison, the Army has made a lot of strides to improve its quality of life for soldiers on post. Soldiers have access to various eateries on post as well as ample recreational opportunities like golf, gyms, horseback riding, rod and gun clubs, auto hobby shops, bowling and other activities. The Army tends to be located in more places around the globe as well, but again, when examining the quality of life, Air Force Vs Army, much depends on what you want for yourself.

Air Force Vs Army (Occupational Specialties)
The Air Force and Army are pretty evenly split here. Both branches offer aviation, law enforcement, cyber, engineering, administrative, mechanical, culinary and other career fields. The key is figuring out what job you want to do and where do you want to do it.

When choosing between the Army or the Air Force, each branch has a number of jobs in similar areas. You’ll find health care, engineering, aviation, administrative, arts and media and mechanical jobs in both branches. If you prefer a job that sees more combat, though, the Army may be the right choice for you. If you have more interest in technology, you’ll find more opportunities in the Air Force. But there are ample opportunities for combat ground roles in the USAF and also plenty of tech jobs in the Army. Much depends on you.

A good way to find out what jobs are a good fit for you is to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB test, which is required for anyone signing up as an enlisted member in the Army or Air Force. The ASVAB measures your abilities to predict which jobs you’re most likely to find success in in the military. This can help you if you do not know what professions interest you.

Air Force Vs Army (Pay and Benefits)
It is important to note that members of the military are paid the same amount as long as they are in the same pay grade. For example, an E-4 in the Air Force makes the same as an E-4 in the Army. Now, if the Air Force E-4 is on flying status or deployed, they might make more money. Similarly, an Army E-4 who is in the airborne can collect jump pay and combat pay if he/she is forward deployed. There are lots of opportunities to make extra pay depending on your duty, but it is important to note in the Air Force Vs Army discussion that all branches pay their grades the same. How fast you climb through those grades is a different story and collection of special pay is up to you and the paths you take professionally.

Air Force Vs Army (Training)
Let’s cut to the chase on the topic of training, there is Air Force basic training and Army basic combat training. Both achieve the same thing; they give attendees a basic understanding of the Army or Air Force and that base training allows a service member to start his or her life in uniform. While the training may vary, the objective is the same.

Training after basic training depends on what occupational specialty you enter. Every technical or advanced school has its requirements. Some Air Force schools might require an airman to train for upwards of two years to be fully qualified while some Army schools might require someone to train for 10 weeks to be fully qualified. Much depends on the occupation.

When it comes to making a decision, Air Force Vs Army, you need to consider what works best for you. Every member in the U.S. military serves for different reasons. Some are motivated by patriotism, some are motivated by adventure, some are motivated by finding a better life. Others want to travel, earn money for college, or gain job skills.

If you’re thinking which is better, Air Force Vs Army, you can’t lose by selecting one of these services. Just ensure you pick was is right for you and what fits into your plans. Follow your head and heart and it will work out.

Tiger Stripe Camo: Does It Hold Any Significance?

Tiger stripe camo. If you’ve been around the military for any length of time the mention of the tiger stripe camouflage pattern, also known as tiger stripe camo, conjures images of Navy SEALs or Special Forces personnel doing spooky stuff in the jungles of Vietnam. The tiger stripe camo uniforms have always been associated with special operators and of course Hollywood took notice and clothed many memorable movie and television characters like Capt. Ben Willard and Navy SEAL Thomas Magnum in tiger stripe camo.

The tiger stripe camo pattern was aptly named because the pattern resembles the stripes on a big cat, like a tiger. The pattern was never fully recognized as an official pattern and unlike OCP or the Air Force’s old ACU, the pattern was simply unofficially called tiger stripe camo pattern.

The first tiger stripe camo uniforms were created in the 1950s for the Vietnamese military. Derived from French leopard and lizard camo patterns dating to World War II, the Vietnamese version was better able to distort a soldier’s body shape. Combined with some British uniform components, the tiger stripe camo pattern was the preferred uniform pattern of choice in the bush.   

During the Vietnam War, in the early 1960s, tiger stripe camo was embraced by U.S. military advisors, mostly Special Forces working with South Vietnamese military members. Special operators liked the way the pattern blended into the jungles better than the standard issue olive drab fatigues being issued to regular Army soldiers.

U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all wore some type of tiger stripe camo uniform during Vietnam depending on their units and on their military occupational specialty. Many of the uniforms were made and purchased in country or made in the region.

Although designed in 1948, the Army’s ERDL pattern (Engineer Research and Development Laboratories) did not come onto the battlefield in Vietnam until 1967 and it was limited to elite units in country. The ERDL was the predecessor of the woodland camo pattern BDU, but it was also known as a type of tiger stripe camo.

Once the war in Vietnam ended, so did the use of tiger stripe camo. The woodland camp pattern would be implemented for use in 1981 by the U.S. Army and the tiger stripe camo would become the adopted camo pattern of OPFOR (opposing force) personnel in the U.S. military.

Thin Green Line: What Is It and What Does It Mean?

In recent years, the meaning of thin lines with distinct colors have taken on special meanings for those in certain professions. We’ve all heard of the thin blue line which originally referred to the U.S. Army. In 1911, Nels Dickmann Anderson wrote a poem titled “The Thin Blue Line,” which spoke about how the thin blue line fought in battle. The blue line was, of course, U.S. Army soldiers who wore blue uniforms through the 1700 and 1800s and the line was the formation they used in battle.

Somewhere along history, many argue around the early 1920s, the term thin blue line started to be adopted by law enforcement. With the increased militarization of American police forces in the 1980s, the thin blue line term gained traction amongst law enforcement members and it took on a whole new meaning and today, most commonly, it refers to the men and women of law enforcement.

The thin line represents law enforcement officers standing in a line as a barrier, like the old military formation, protecting law-abiding society from criminals. The color blue represents the police uniform, which is usually blue, worn by police officers.

The thin line movement gained popularity recently in reaction to social movements and in addition to the thin blue line, white, gray, yellow and other colored lines were adopted by many uniformed professions. For example, the thin green line for some represents the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol. But the thin green line can also represent paramedics, EMTs, fish and wildlife officers, park rangers and animal control officers, to name a few.

However, in this post, we are referring to the men and women of the U.S. Army. Although the Army was the original thin blue line, the Army evolved into the thin green line as law enforcement more and more used the thin blue line term as an identifier.

Today, although as noted above, there are some para-law enforcement entities that use the term thin green line, the U.S. Army, for the most part, is referred to as the thin green line. They are the original thin green line and the term took root years ago when the Army began to wear green fatigues and green Class A uniforms.

It should be noted that the U.S. Military Academy had the long grey line which referred to graduates of West Point, and although the term is still used to refer to cadets who wear grey uniforms, the phrase has also been commandeered by civilian uniformed professions.

And the term thin green line seems to be diluting just like the thin blue line did for the U.S. Army. As mentioned above, more and more professions are staking their claim by using the thin green line to identify their professions.

Recently, the thin green line has started to represent not just the U.S. Army, but the U.S. military as a whole. Flags with the thin green line on them represent all military forces in the United States.

Thin green line flags and apparel are worn by individuals who support the U.S. military. A popular item is a subdued U.S. flag with a green stripe in the middle representing support for the U.S. military.

Protected Veteran Status: What Is It And How To Get It

Protected veteran is a term defined by the U.S. government as someone who is disabled, recently separated from the military, served in wartime or during a campaign, or earned the Armed Forces Service Medal.

The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and its subsequent amendments stipulates that VEVRAA veterans be given equal opportunity and that employers take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment these protected veterans.

To further clarify what a protected veteran is, let’s look at the various classes of protected veteran.

  1. A disabled veteran is considered a protected veteran if they served in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service and they are entitled to compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs; or they are considered a protected veteran because they are a person discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.
  2. A recently separated veteran is a protected veteran if they served during the three-year period beginning on the date of the veteran’s discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military.
  3. If a veteran served on active duty during wartime or if he/she earned a campaign badge, that individual is considered a protected veteran. The protected veteran must have served in ground, naval or air service during a war or expedition for which a campaign badge was authorized by the Department of Defense.
  4. An Armed Forces Services Medal Veteran is also a protected veteran because they served on active duty in the U.S. military during a U.S. military operation for which an Armed Forces Service Medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.

Earning protected veteran status is as simple as finding a qualifying opportunity to serve and in recent years veterans of the Global War on Terror, those responding to the COVID-19 crisis and those serving in Operation Inherent Resolve all qualify and have earned their protected veteran status. But rather than chase preferred employment status, its probably better to do your duty, do it well, and reap the benefits of things you’ve earned, not pursued.

PTSD Month: How You Can Raise PTSD Awareness

There was a time when post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) wasn’t well-understood and there were stigmas attached to those who suffered from it. Once known as battle fatigue and shell shock, PTSD has been a part of the warrior culture since man first starting fighting wars.

The Global War on Terror saw a rise in the understanding of PTSD by the American public and by American institutions. Generally speaking, the nation has come to understand that PTSD is a disorder that requires attention.

In 2010, Kent Conrad, a U.S. senator, advocated to get the federal government to officially organize a PTSD-day where awareness could be raised about the disorder in tribute to North Dakota National Guardsman, Staff Sgt. Joe Biel who killed himself in 2007 because he suffered from PTSD. Biel served two tours in Iraq and those that knew him said he struggled to leave the war behind him. June 27 was Biel’s birthday, so Biel’s birthday was selected to observe PTSD Awareness Day.

Four years later, the U.S. Senate designated the month of June as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder month and that became known as PTSD Month. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that currently 8 million people in the United States have PTSD.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after living through an event that could have caused serious harm or death to them. In order to suffer from PTSD, a person doesn’t have to experience the event personally, they could have simply witnessed it (like the 9/11 attacks).

PTSD can impact a person’s ability to sleep and it can lead to irritability, anger, relationship issues, isolation and other problems. While some people can recover from PTSD in a short period of time, others can carry the disorder with them much longer. The good news is that PTSD can be treated.

Here are some things you can do to raise awareness of PTSD Month to help ensure that those suffering from the invisible wounds of war get the help they need.

1. You can start raising awareness of PTSD Month by taking the PTSD awareness pledge on the VA’s website.

2. During PTSD Month, use a social media profile pic that helps draw attention to the issue.

3. Share the Veterans Crisis Line phone number in your area during PTSD Month.

4. If you know a veteran who may have been exposed to trauma, check in on them during PTSD Month.

5. During PTSD Month, use PTSD Month hashtags created by veteran organizations and the VA and share information on social media.

6. Sharing information, signing pledges and engaging in a social media movement are great, but if you really want to make lasting contributions during PTSD Month, consider volunteering to help organize a PTSD Month awareness event.

7. Likewise, volunteering at an organization that provides ongoing PTSD support to veterans can not only be helpful to the veteran community during PTSD Month, but it can also be extremely rewarding to be involved in a PTSD support organization especially during PTSD Month.

8. During PTSD Month, if you’re a veteran and you feel like you need help, don’t put if off any longer and get the help you need.

9. If you are a veteran suffering from PTSD or know someone who is, make it a point during PTSD Month to learn about the disorder so you can intelligently talk about it without spreading misinformation.

10. Understand that millions of veterans in the United States suffer from some level of PTSD and it is important during PTSD Month to ensure lawmakers are made aware of the issues faced by those with invisible injuries.