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Video:What Is Military Time?

with Rod Powers

Military time can seem confusing and impenetrable at first, but it's actually not that hard to understand. In fact, it's not so different from your standard 12-hour clock. Here's a handy guide for understanding military time.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is Military Time?

Definition of Military Time

The military operates off a 24-hour clock, beginning at midnight (which is 0000 hours). So, 1:00 AM is 0100 hours, 2:00 AM is 0200 hours, and so-on up until 11:00 PM, which is 2300 hours, and this is known as military time. For most daily things, military personnel use local time as a reference. For example: "Report to duty at 0700," would mean you have to be at work at 7:00 AM, local time. "The Commander wants to see you at 1500 hrs," means you need to be in the Commander's office at 3:00 PM, local time. When using local time, the military observes Daylight Savings Time, if recognized by the state or country that the base is located in.

Military Time Around the World

When it comes to operational matters (such as communications, training exercises, deployments, ship movements, aircraft flights, etc.), the military must often coordinate with bases and personnel located in other time zones. To avoid confusion in these matters, the military uses the time in Greenwich, England, which is commonly called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, the U.S. Military refers to this time zone as Zulu Time, and they attach the "Zulu" (or Z) suffix, to ensure the time-zone referred to is clear. For example, a military message or communication might state, "The ship will cross into the area of operations at 1300Z." That means the ship would arrive in the AOO when it is 1:00 PM in Greenwich, England. For military, the world is divided into basically 24 time zones. For easy reference in communications, a letter of the alphabet has been assigned to each time zone.

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