Why called 'Charlie'?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by LawrenceZ, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. LawrenceZ

    LawrenceZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Can anyone tell me why the Vietnamese were called 'Charlie' during the war?
     
  2. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Viet Cong = VC = Victor Charlie = shorted to "Charlie"
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Yep,

    Exactly what I would have typed:

    Viet Cong = V.C. = "Victor Charles" = Charlie
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    To expand just a bit on Mike’s accurate answer, Victor and Charlie are part of the phonetic alphabet used by the military. As in:

    Alpha
    Bravo
    Charlie
    Delta


    And so on. This was designed so that it was easy for letters to be understood under difficult conditions (e.g. radio with a lot of interference). The current one has been in place since the late 50s or early 60s, when it replaced the one used in WWII, which began:

    Able
    Baker
    Charlie
    Dog


    So in some of the WWII and Korean War movies you will hear references to ‘Dog’ Company. It was changed to make it easier for non-English speakers to be understood.
     
  5. LawrenceZ

    LawrenceZ Stunt Coordinator

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    Groovy, thanks everybody. HTF is almost as useful as google for finding out little bits of trivia.
     
  6. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Here's the complete alphabet if anyone is interested:


    A = Alpha

    B = Bravo

    C = Charlie

    D = Delta

    E = Echo

    F = Foxtrot

    G = Golf

    H = Hotel

    I = India

    J = Juliet

    K = Kilo

    L = Lima

    M = Mike

    N = November

    O = Oscar

    P = Papa

    Q = Quebec

    R = Romeo

    S = Sierra

    T = Tango

    U = Uniform

    V = Victor

    W = Whiskey

    X = Xray

    Y = Yankee

    Z = Zulu


    -Juliet Oscar November
     
  7. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    Jon_Are,

    You are Sierra Hotel.[​IMG]
     
  8. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Other trivia. You may have heard the term "Tango Uniform", which is the military version of "Tits Up" referring to something or someone dead or out of action.
     
  9. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    Yup. Or for more trivia, if you check the military usage, it's why it's not a good idea to drive a KIA.
     
  10. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    ok, this is a long explanation, but worth it.[​IMG]

    there are also flags that stand for each of the letters. in the maritime services there groups of flags that are combined and flown in the ships rigging to communicate msgs to other ships during a medical emergency, with books published in the various languages to translate the standardized msg. for example, if an english speaking vessel is assisting a french speaking vessel with an injured crewman, the french vessel would fly the appropriate flags for the type of injury that the patient has and without having to understand french, the english speaking crew will have an idea of the injury.

    with me so far?

    my favorite group of flags:
    Mike Kilo Foxtrot

    the meaning:
    patients penis is swollen and discharging


    we occasionally flew MKF when we had been at sea for an extended time and were returning to port with the wives and girlfriends on the pier, kind of an inside joke for the bridge crew.[​IMG]
     
  11. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    HAHAHA, that is too funny Craig!!! [​IMG]
     
  12. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    ah, I didn't realise the phonetic alphabet was different in WW2, though I should have guessed. especially after watching Band of Brothers, where "E" was Easy, "D" was Dog and "F" was Fox.

    anyone have a link to something which sets out the entire "old" alphabet? (I had to learn the current one in the scouts, so I'm curious as to what the old one was like).

    for that matter, do the police use it as well? on TV shows, police call-signs bear no resemblence to the phonetic alphabet, so I've assumed that they don't, e.g. Third Watch they're all Lincoln-something.
     
  13. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    World War 2 phonetic alphabet (parenthesis indicate terms used by Marines and Navy)
    A – Able (Afirm)
    B – Baker
    C – Charlie
    D – Dog
    E – Easy
    F – Fox
    G – George
    H – How
    I – Item (Int)
    J – Jig
    K – King
    L – Love
    M – Mike
    N – Nan (Negat)
    O – Oboe (Option)
    P – Peter (Prep)
    Q – Queen
    R – Roger
    S – Sail
    T – Tare
    U – Unit
    V – Victor
    W – William
    X – X-ray
    Y – Yoke
    Z – Zebra
     
  14. Trey Fletcher

    Trey Fletcher Second Unit

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    Yee-Ming,

    This is what I found with a Google search. Apparently different police departments use different alphabets. This list includes law enforcement as well as various military and civilian alphabets.

    The NATO phonetic alphabet:

    Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta Echo Foxtrot Golf Hotel India
    Juliet Kilo Lima Mike November Oscar Papa Quebec Romeo
    Sierra Tango Uniform Victor Whiskey Xray Yankee Zulu

    [The same alphabet, modulo Alfa and Juliett, is approved by
    the International Civil Aviation Organization and the FAA.
    The International Telecommunication Union Phonetics list
    has: Alfa, Juliette, Oscar/Oskar, Victor/Viktor.
    Dates from about 1956.
    UK police use Indigo instead of India (?)]

    Telecom B:

    Alfred Benjamin Charles David Edward Frederick George Harry
    Isaac Jack King London Mary Nellie Oliver Peter Queen Robert
    Samuel Tommy Uncle Victor William Xray Yellow Zebra

    [Found in Swedish, Dutch, Hungarian telephone directories.
    A Swiss directory has: Andrew Charlie Lussy Queenie Sugar]


    British A:

    Amsterdam Baltimore Casablanca Denmark Edison Florida
    Gallipoli Havana Italia Jerusalem Kilogramme Liverpool
    Madagascar New_York Oslo Paris Quebec Roma Santiago Tripoli
    Uppsala Valencia Washington Xantippe Yokohama Zurich

    [An 'international' alphabet in a Dutch telephone directory
    has: Danemark. A 'French' alphabet in a Hungarian directory
    has: Cassablanka Danemark Que'bec Upsala Zu"rich]


    Used by New York Police Department:

    Adam Boy Charlie David Eddie Frank George Henry Ida John
    King Larry Mary Nancy O.. Peter Queen Robert Sam Thomas
    Union Victor William X-ray Yankee Zebra


    Used by police in Nassau County, Long Island, New York:

    Adam Boston Chicago Denver Edward Frank George Henry Ida
    John King Lincoln Mary Nancy Ocean Peter Queen Robert Sam
    Thomas Union Victor William X-ray Young Zebra


    Used by police in San Diego, California:

    Adam Boy Charles David Edward Frank George Henry Ida John
    King Lincoln Mary Nora Ocean Paul Queen Robert Sam Tom Unit
    Victor William Xray Yellow Zebra


    Used by police in Hutchinson, Kansas:

    Adam Boy Charles David Edward Frank George Henry Ida John
    King Lincoln Mary Nora Ocean Paul Q.. Robert Sam Tom Union
    Victor William X-ray Yankee Zebra


    Sometimes used by radio hams (unofficial):

    America Boston Canada Denmark England France Germany
    Honolulu India Japan Kilowatt London Mexico Norway Ontario
    or Ocean Pacific Quebec Radio Santiago or Spain Tokyo United
    Victoria Washington Xray Yokohama Zanzibar

    [Much variation: Amsterdam, Brazil, Baltimore, Chile,
    Finland, Greece, Guatemala etc]


    The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) alphabet (1948):

    Adam Baker Charlie David Edward Frank George Henry Ida John
    king Lewis Mary Nancy Otto Peter queen Robert Susan Thomas
    union Victor William x-ray young zebra

    [Nowadays the ARRL endorses the NATO/ICAO alphabet]


    Allied Services 1945:

    Able Baker Charlie Dog Edward Fox George How Item Jig King
    Love Mike Nan Oboe Peter Queen Roger Sugar Tape Uncle Victor
    William X-ray Yoke Zebra


    From a book entitled "The Complete Morse Instructor..." (1944):

    able baker charlie dog easy fox george how item jig king
    love mike nan oboe peter queen roger sugar tare uncle victor
    william x-ray yoke zebra

    [The same alphabet is described as "Used by Armed services of
    USA & GB" in the ARRL 1945 Handbook. Entries cited in variants
    of this alphabet: affirm, cast, hypo, inter, negat, option,
    over, prep]


    Western Union:

    Adams Boston Chicago Denver Easy Frank George Henry Ida John
    King Lincoln Mary New_York Ocean Peter Queen Roger Sugar
    Thomas Union Victor William X-ray Young Zero


    British Army 1927:

    Ack Beer Charlie Don Edward Freddy George Harry Ink Johnnie
    King London Monkey Nuts Orange Pip Queen Robert Sugar Toc
    Uncle Vic William X-ray Yorker Zebra


    Royal Navy 1917:

    Apples Butter Charlie Duff Edward Freddy George Harry Ink
    Johnnie King London Monkey Nuts Orange Pudding Queenie
    Robert Sugar Tommy Uncle Vinegar Willie Xerxes Yellow Zebra


    U.S. Army 1916:

    Able Buy Cast Dock Easy Fox George Have Item Jig King Love
    Mike Nap Opal Pup Quack Rush Sail Tape Unit Vice Watch X-ray
    Yoke Zed
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]

    this is so funny. i was just thinkin' about this a few days ago.

    i cut myself off and thought, what kind of person thinks about something like that...???

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Craig - do you have a source for the various messages for signal flags ? I need a new arrangement on my stout little craft. I've got a "Chapmans" boating manual, but it doesn't have anything that colorful !

    My favorite is "Splice the Main Brace" - Signal Flags: Alpha Delta 0 5

    This old expression is sometimes used by sailors as an invitation to board a vessel or enter private quarters for free drink and hospitality. To say to a friend, "Let's 'Splice the Main Brace'!" is synonymous with, "Let's have a drink!"

    Thanks
     
  17. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Then there's the adults only version:

    Asshole, Bastard, Cocksucker...

    Jon [​IMG]
     
  18. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Trey,

    *kowtows in admiration*

    you da man! fascinating stuff.

    all quite useless knowledge, though... [​IMG]

    (well, maybe to fault TV cop shows if they get it wrong, but that's about it, eh?)
     

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