Military Time Chart: Origin and conversion

Do you want to know how to read military time (24 hour time)? At first glance, it may seem overwhelming with no AM or PM available, in the xx:xx format. The best part is, that minutes and seconds do not change, leaving you to just figure out the hour.

The first twelve hours are the simplest because no conversion is necessary, taking you to noon (12:00pm).

The second half of military time is easy to figure out. All you need to remember is drop the 1 and then subtract 2 from the military time given. For example, 13:00 would be (drop the one) 3-2= 1pm; 1500-2=3pm

Once you get to the 2’s, (drop the 1), and do the same thing as above. 2200= 1 (2-2): 10:00pm

 

Military Time

Civilian Time

0100

1:00 am

0200

2:00 am

0300

3:00 am

0400

4:00 am

0500

5:00 am

0600

6:00 am

0700

7:00 am

0800

8:00 am

0900

9:00 am

1000

10:00 am

1100

11:00 am

1200

12:00 pm

1300

1:00 pm

1400

2:00 pm

1500

3:00 pm

1600

4:00 pm

1700

5:00 pm

1800

6:00 pm

1900

7:00 pm

2000

8:00 pm

2100

9:00 pm

2200

10:00 pm

2300

11:00 pm

2400 or 0000

12:00 am


Military time is not used with colons like civilian time. You may hear “Thirteen hundred hours” which means 1300, or zero six thirty for 0630.  You may even hear O-Dark 30, which means 30 minutes before daylight.

You will not hear “o-clock” unless you are serving overseas, typically with a British or Foreign Service group.

Why Do We have Military Time?

Maybe you’ve ever had a night where you’ve overslept and accidentally set your alarm for 5pm, instead of 5am. The military can’t take those chances, so they use 24 hour time instead, ensuring that accidents don’t happen with a simple slip of an AM or PM.

How Does it Figure into Time Zones (Zulu Time)?

The world is broken up into 24 time zones and a letter of the alphabet has been assigned to each time zone.  The military relies heavily on communication within training, deployments, ship and aircraft movements, etc., so they must coordinate with other bases and personnel located outside of the United States.

To avoid confusion, they use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), but it’s also referred to as UTC time (Universal Time Coordinated).


A
Alpha Time Zone  UTC + 1 hour
B
Bravo Time Zone  UTC + 2 hours
C
Charlie Time Zone  UTC + 3 hours
D
Delta Time Zone  UTC + 4 hours
E
Echo Time Zone  UTC + 5 hours
F
Foxtrot Time Zone  UTC + 6 hours
G
Golf Time Zone  UTC + 7 hours
H
Hotel Time Zone  UTC + 8 hours
I
India Time Zone  UTC + 9 hours
K
Kilo Time Zone  UTC + 10 hours
L
Lima Time Zone  UTC + 11 hours
M
Mike Time Zone  UTC + 12 hours
N
November Time Zone  UTC - 1 hour
O
Oscar Time Zone  UTC - 2 hours
P
Papa Time Zone  UTC - 3 hours
Q
Quebec Time Zone  UTC - 4 hours
R
Romeo Time Zone  UTC - 5 hours
S
Sierra Time Zone  UTC - 6 hours
T
Tango Time Zone  UTC - 7 hours
U
Uniform Time Zone  UTC - 8 hours
V
Victor Time Zone  UTC - 9 hours
W
Whiskey Time Zone  UTC - 10 hours
X
X-ray Time Zone  UTC - 11 hours
Y
Yankee Time Zone  UTC - 12 hours
Z
Zulu Time Zone  UTC