You might recognize Charlie's Army as the 2012 Norman Stone film starring Chick Allan, Russell Crows and Callum Cuthbertson, or the indie song by The Menzingers. But did you know that Charlie is a household name even in the military?
Charlie is military jargon that you might come across while reading books or watching movies as a civilian, and will definitely hear about as a future service member. But Charlie just sounds like a name, right? NOT CORRECT. So what does Charlie mean in the military?
There are 7 meanings for Charlie in the military. In summary, the military meanings of Charlie are:
- A Soviet Navy submarine classified as "Charlie" class.
- A military slang for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War.
- The letter "C" in the NATO phonetic alphabet used in the radiotelephone.
- A radio message meaning "Continue Mission" during missions and operations.
- A radio message that means “loud and clear” during radio checks
- The third threat level above "normal" for military installations.
- A phonetic term for a clucker fuck (another military jargon we'll explain later).
Read on for details on what Charlie means in the military arena. We'll show you everything you need to know. Do not miss!
Table of Contents
- 7 Charlie meanings in the military
- 1. A Soviet Navy submarine classified as "Charlie" class
- 2. A military slang for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War
- 3. The letter "C" in the NATO phonetic alphabet used in the radiotelephone.
- 4. A radio message meaning "Continue Mission" during missions and operations
- 6. The third threat level above normal for military installations
- 7. A phonetic term for a cluster fuck
7 Charlie meanings in the military
As mentioned earlier, the military term Charlie has 7 different meanings. We will examine each of them in detail now! Are you ready? Let's go!
1. A Soviet Navy submarine classified as "Charlie" class
The Soviet Navy operates nuclear-powered cruise-missile submarines classified as Charlie I or II. These submarines will be decommissioned and used for Oniks missile testing. The submarines Charlie I and II were designed by Gorky's Lazurit Central Design Bureau.
The Charlie I is about 95 m or 312 feet long and weighed 4,000 tons on the surface and 4,900 tons underwater. Its beam was 10 m or 32 ft and 10 in with a draft of 8 m (338 ft) and propulsion including a pressurized water reactor driving two 11,185 kW steam turbines. Recorded speeds were 37 km/h or 23 mph on the surface and 44 km/h or 28 mph underwater. Garments include:
- 21 inch tubes with a maximum load of 12 torpedoes
- 2 kt anti-ship nuclear torpedoes and 2 tsakra
- 8x P-70 anti-ship missiles
- 24 AMD-1000 ground mines
Charlie I was launched in 1967 as part of Project 670 Skat at Gorky's Krasnoye Sormovo inland shipyard. They were designed for surprise attacks on aircraft carriers and other high-value surface targets. Between 1964 and 1971, 11 Charlie 1-class submarines were deployed.
The Charlie II is an upgraded version measuring 103 m or 338 feet in length, surfacing at 4,3000 tons and submerging at 5,100 tons. Its beam and draft were also 10 m and 8 m, respectively. Although the propulsion and speed are the same, Charlie II adds 2 less than Charlie I. The Charlie II is equipped with 8x P-120 anti-ship missiles instead of 8x P- Equipped with 70 anti-ship missiles. Between 1975 and 1980, 6 Charlie 2 class submarines were deployed.
The last Charlie ceased operations in 1994 and a class unit was leased to the Indian Navy for 3 years in 1988 to gain experience in operating nuclear submarines.
2. A military slang for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War
During the Vietnam War, American soldiers referred to the Viet Cong as V-C or Victor Charlie, where "Victor" and "Charlie" are letters in the military's NATO phonetic alphabet. The name "Charlie" was used to refer to communist forces in general,
Simply put, it's a shortened nickname so American soldiers didn't have to spell "Vietcong." If the full name "Vietcong" was spelled out, it would have been:
Very long, isn't it? V.C to Victor Charlie was much easier and more convenient. Later it became just Charlie and sometimes even Charles.
Fun fact: Charlie's first appearance with this meaning was in a Saigon newspaper (1956).
3. The letter "C" in the NATO phonetic alphabet used in the radiotelephone.
The NATO phonetic alphabet, also known as the International Radiotelephony Alphabet, contains 26 code words associated with each letter of the alphabet. This was to ensure that similar words or letters were not ambiguous, especially during radio or telephone communications.
Here is a table of the NATO phonetic alphabet.
|A: Alfa or Alpha||N: November|
|B: Well done||A: Oscar|
|C: Charly||Q: The father|
|D: Triangle||F: Quebec|
|I've done||R: Romeo|
|F: Foxtrott||S: Sierra|
|G: Golf||T: Tango|
|H: Hotel||U: Uniform|
|Me: India||V: Victor|
|J: Julia||W: Whisky|
|K: Kilo||X: Röntgen|
|L: Lima||Y: Yankee|
|M: Mike||Z: Zulu|
As you can see, Charlie represents "C" in this alphabet system.
Note: Delta is sometimes Data, Dixie, or David. "Whiskey" is replaced by "Washington" or "White" in Muslim countries, and "India" is "Italy" or "Indigo" in Pakistan.
You canRead this article to find outwhat foxtrot Juliet Bravo means in the military. Aside from that,Learn more about the NATO phonetic alphabet here.
4. A radio message meaning "Continue Mission" during missions and operations
In the military, you're bound to hear the term "Charlie Mike," which, translated from the NATO phonetic alphabet, means "continue mission." Typically, you will hear this term when communicating over the radio during missions and operations.
5. A radio message meaning "loud and clear" during radio checks
Another military radio communication that includes the term "Charlie" is "Lima Charlie". Based on the NATO phonetic alphabet, it refers to "L" and "C", short for "loud and clear". This is typically used to respond to a radio probe.
6. The third threat level above normal for military installations
There are 4 threat levels above “normal” for US military installations. The 4 threat levels are THREATCON ALPHA, THRETCON BRAVO, THREATCON CHARLIE, and THREATCON DELTA, which are low, medium, high, and critical in the same order.
Therefore, "Charlie" is a high-level threat in that regard. This is the case when there is an incident or form of terrorist activity recognized by the Secret Service.
7. A phonetic term for a cluster fuck
Another term you're likely to hear in the military is "Charlie Foxtrot," which refers to a cluster fuck. If you search the dictionary for "clusterfucks" you won't get any definitions. But no worry. We will define it for you here. "Clusterfucks" is military jargon and means:
- A disorganized collection of people
- A minor or major mishap that leads to an almighty failure
- Many/a group of unsuspecting people in a single room
- A messed up event of the situation on many levels
- A crap caused by many incompetent officers
Over the radio, military personnel say "Charlie Foxtrot" because of the primary use of the NATO phonetic alphabet, rather than "clusterfucks".
In summary, Charlie has 7 different meanings in the military. Hopefully you don't have to think about "What does Charlie mean in the military?" anymore.
Did you find this interesting and informative? Is there anything else you would like to ask or add? If so, please don't hesitate to contact us in the comments!
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I'm Everett Bledsoe, accepting responsibilities as content producer for The Soldiers Project. My goal in this project is to give honest reviews of the equipment used and tested over time. Of course, you can't go wrong reading our package of information and guides either, as they come from reliable sources and years of experience.