Military Time: All You Need To Know About 24-Hour Time

Time can be a tricky thing when you consider the entire globe. It’s always five o’clock somewhere, but what is that time in regards to military time? This question will have many people scratching their heads, especially those of us outside of the United States. You may have heard (or know about) people giving the time as, for example, “zero two-hundred hours”. (‘Zero two-hundred hours? What is that in normal talk!’) It may baffle a few people, but it can actually be fairly straight forward. Similarly, the 24-hour clock is something used by non-Americans. Therefore, it seems that a lot of Americans will need some practice when it comes to both military time and the 24-hour clock – which are practically both the same thing.

military time

As we know, the time is often divided into AM and PM. This is something we learned not long after we learned how to walk. However, not all of us have been acquainted properly with military time or the 24-hour clock. Not to worry, however, for with some practice it will become as easy as walking. For those of us who are not so well acquainted with it, it can be confusing due to the calculations that are involved. However, the only calculation you will have to do is adding twelve hours to the current time. This is something that all of us non-Americans have to do on a daily basis. Many Americans will be thrown by the clock when they travel the world. For example, all of Europe runs on the 24-hour clock, but many would agree that it’s unnecessarily complicated.

Military Time: All You Need To Know About 24-Hour Time

To try and simply it all as much as possible, military time begins at midnight (00.00) and continues from there until 23.59 hrs. Thus, you have 24 hours. It couldn’t be more simple, right? Another way to think of it is to take the current time (for example – 6 pm) and to add 12 hours (which would thus make 18). 6 pm, therefore, becomes 18.00. This is a great shortcut – but it works only after 12 pm. Before 12 pm is simply quite the same, only you place a zero before the number. For example, 3 am becomes 03.00. Another thing which is quite important to remember is that both the 24-hour clock and military time does not add am or pm. There is no need to apply am or pm to the military clock or the 24-hour clock. Both military time and the 24-hour clock is designed to provide the time without an AM or a PM.

The following is a complete outline of military time, in relation to am and pm times:

  • Beginning at (12:00 AM) — 0000 hrs
  • 1 AM — 0100 hrs
  • 2 AM — 0200 hrs
  • 3 AM — 0300 hrs
  • 4 AM — 0400 hrs
  • 5 AM — 0500 hrs
  • 6 AM — 0600 hrs
  • 7 AM — 0700 hrs
  • 8 AM — 0800 hrs
  • 9 AM — 0900 hrs
  • 10 AM — 1000 hrs
  • 11 AM — 1100 hrs
  • 12 PM —1200 hrs
  • 1 PM — 1300 hrs
  • 2 PM — 1400 hrs
  • 3 PM — 1500 hrs
  • 4 PM — 1600 hrs
  • 5 PM — 1700 hrs
  • 6 PM — 1800 hrs
  • 7 PM — 1900 hrs
  • 8 PM — 2000 hrs
  • 9 PM — 2100 hrs
  • 10 PM — 2200 hrs
  • 11 PM — 2300 hrs

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Furthermore, military time also observes daylight savings time. Of course, this will depend entirely on the country in which the military is situated.

Some Further Information On Time Across the World In Relation To Military Time

In regards to operational matters – for example, communications, training drills, deployments, ship movements, aircraft flights, and so forth – it is important for the military to coordinate with bases and personnel situated in different time zones. In order to clear things up for their counterparts in these circumstances, the military employs the time zone in the United Kingdom, specifically, in Greenwich, England. This time zone is more commonly known as Greenwich Meridian Time or GMT. On the other hand, to make things a little bit more complicated, the United States military calls this time zone Zulu Time. They place the ‘Zulu’ suffix to make sure that the time zone is made clear to the operations unit.

In addition to international time zones, to ensure easy references in communications with their operations, the U.S military assigns a unique letter of the alphabet to each individual time zone. As mentioned, the letter assigned to the Greenwich Meridian Time zone is Z. The American military also has its own unique alphabet for each time zone. GMT, for example, is ‘Zulu’ or Z. Another example is the east coast of the United States, approximately Los Angeles, California, is classified as R for ‘Romeo’. There are many different examples for each and every time zone across the globe.

When sprung into action, an example of a military message might run as follows. “The aircraft will cross into the AOO (Area Of Operations) at 1500R”. In other words, or in plain speak, this means the aircraft will enter the designated zone at 1 PM, the designated zone being the east coast of the United States (R, or Romeo). For this, of course, you will need a clear head in order to do all the calculations. This is the biggest problem when dealing with military time. An important thing to remember, and a great tip to bear in mind, is that GMT areas, or places in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Portugal, are exactly 7 hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States. GMT areas are 6 hours ahead of Texas and most of the mid-US are 6 hours behind. New York is four hours behind the GMT time zone.

Daylight Savings Information

To add some more confusion to the entire situation, Daylight Savings Time also alters the time and operation somewhat slightly. It’s important to know that different countries add Daylight Savings at different times of the year. For example, the United States applies Daylight Savings at an earlier date than the United Kingdom. Daylight savings in the United Kingdom comes into effect at the end of March. At this time in Spring, the clock goes forward by 1 hour. As for Winter, the clocks go back. An easy way to remember this is that Spring = ‘spring’ forward (+1 hour).


And so there you have it – all the information you need in military time, as well as time zones and daylight savings.

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