Civilian time is the way we measure time today, but military time was the standard for clock inventions way before there were 12-hour days (around 4000 BC). As such, its accuracy has been tested over centuries.
Its invention came about in the early days of clock-making when astronomers created timepieces in the Dark Ages. You may wonder why we’re still using such an ancient practice, the fact is that it saves you from planning mistakes in both warzone and civilian life. Read on to discover how the military clock came to be and why it’s still relevant today.
What Is Military Time?
Military time is a 24-hour clock system. It goes by a set of numbers to designate hours and minutes.
You can also use “military time” to represent any other type of time-keeping system that uses a 24-hour format. For example, aviation use or other operations where precise tracking of time is necessary.
History of Military Time
The first recorded use of military time was during the 11th Egyptian dynasty. At first, it was temporal (based on world affairs).
Later on, around 147 BC, Hipparchus suggested that time be set in stone. It was his belief that time should remain constant regardless of seasons or any other changes. The world embraced his ideas, as he had a reputation for being an outstanding astronomer.
For years, Hipparchus’ beliefs shaped the way people made clocks. But the Egyptians and Mesopotamians were innovators, so they improved upon the clock as they did many other things. From their creativity, a 12-hour sundial was born.
This means that the day was now split into two 12-hour cycles: morning and night. And the world once again had a constant standard of time. This changed in World War 1.
Though the 12-hour clock was still the standard, it was full of inaccuracies. To help soldiers navigate the battlefields, they needed better timekeeping.
The solution? A 24-hour time system. Soldiers have used this military time structure ever since then.
Why Military Time Is Used
Military time was created to keep track of time and location in a military setting, where there’s no room for error. A 12-hour time system can be confusing at a glance since times in the morning and afternoon are often indistinguishable. Military time eliminates this confusion.
How to Tell Military Time
You can learn military time in depth at navy school and other military breaches. The time representations are:
Midnight is written as 4 zeros in military time to convey the start of a new day. This would be 0000 or zero hundred hours.
12:01 a.m. to 12 Noon
Write out the time as you would see it on a 4-digit clock. Then, remove the colon between the hour and the minutes. For example, 1:39 a.m. becomes 0139 (pronounced “zero one three nine” or “zero one thirty-nine”).
Noon until 11:59 p.m.
Noon and the other hours have separate rules. Write out noon as a 4-digit clock would display it and remove the colon (ex. 1200). Say the first two digits as the value of a hundred for military time (ex. twelve hundred hours).
From there, 12:01 p.m. will be 1201, 12:02 p.m. will be 1202, and so on.
However, when you reach 1:00 p.m. and beyond, use the same rules as for midnight and remove the colon (ex. 0100). Then add 1200. You’ll have a total of thirteen hundred hours or 1 p.m. in military time.
Get More Familiar With the Military
Military time is not that hard to understand once you get the hang of it. You’ll find that it helps you easily identify times during a mission or when communicating with other soldiers.
One way to learn more about military time is by joining the armed forces. Find a recruiter in your area with our help. We can connect you with positions that will teach you the ins and outs of military time.