Are You Confused by Military Time? As a new recruit, you may be confused by what military time is and how it works. Understanding a little bit about the origin and understand how military time works will help as you become a member of any branch of the US armed forces. Here’s a look at a little bit of history and how this way of keeping time works.
Military time isn’t actually a way of keeping time at all. Instead, it refers to a type of 24-hour time system adopted across the United States military branches. This type of system for keeping time actually dates back to early Egyptian times and has been used for many centuries by astronomers and scientists.
Some of the first mechanical clocks used a 24-hour time system and many countries adopted the use of the 24-hour time system back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The United States Military didn’t start using what we know as military time until 1920 when the US Navy adopted the 24-hour time system first. It wasn’t until 1942 that the US Army also adopted military time. The British Royal Navy actually started it all when they adopted the 24-hour clock in 1915.
What Does Military Time Look Like?
The easiest way to explain military time may be to look at standard time or the 12-hour clock system next to the 24-hour clock or military time.
? Standard Military Time
? 1:00am 0100
? 2:00am 0200
? 3:00am 0300
? 4:00am 0400
? 5:00am 0500
? 6:00am 0600
? 7:00am 0700
? 8:00am 0800
? 9:00am 0900
? 10:00am 1000
? 11:00am 1100
? 12:00pm 1200
? 1:00pm 1300
? 2:00pm 1400
? 3:00pm 1500
? 4:00pm 1600
? 5:00pm 1700
? 6:00pm 1800
? 7:00pm 1900
? 8:00pm 2000
? 9:00pm 2100
? 10:00pm 2200
? 11:00pm 2300
? 12:00am 0000 or 2400
Along with looking at military time next to standard time, it’s also important to understand a few other things the military does with time.
First, the military uses a letter at the end of the time to communicate the time zone. If this letter is “J” or “Juliett” it communicates local time.
Second, you will notice by looking above, the military doesn’t use a divider for the hours and minutes. This is common across all branches of the US military.
Third, the “0” before the hours is always spoken and written. Along with the “0” the military never says “one thousand” for 1000. Instead, it’s “ten hundred”. The same is true for 2000.
Finally, military time designates Greenwich Mean Time, which is also known as Coordinated Universal Time as time zone Z or Zulu Time.
Is Military Time Hard to Learn?
While it may be common practice to refer to time based on a 12-hour clock, military time isn’t a huge adjustment for most recruits. It will become second nature and it won’t be long before trying to figure out what 2200 means will just be natural and easy. In fact, it may be harder to understand those using a 12-hour clock after you adapt to military time.