55 Sierras of Romeo Chatter


Second Lieutenant (Oscar 1) Andy, May 1969

When putting together today’s blog Ann asked me if there were any literary passages, poems, or other such things from my past that I could recite verbatim.  The first thing that came to mind was the military alphabet.  I can still rattle it off without thinking.  It was a routine part of our two-way radio chatter while I was stationed in Vietnam, and even though that was 50 years ago, it must have become hard-wired in my brain. 

8 unch artillary shells

Some 8 inch artillery rounds that our Papa Golfs (ammunition pad guards) were being deployed to protect.

When I first arrived to my unit in Vietnam it sounded like there was a foreign language coming from those PRC-25 two-way radios.  It didn’t take long, though, before I became fluent in the lingo.  To get a rough terrain forklift to my site I radioed a request for a Romeo Tango.  Guards for our ammunition pads were Papa Golfs and our two-and-a-half ton cargo truck (aka, deuce and a half) was a Delta Hotel.  

Deuce and a half being washed

A deuce and a half truck (Delta Hotel)

To give you some feeling for how immersed we were in that lingo, I’m sharing a 55 second audio snippet of the radio chatter  I recorded on the night of July 4, 1969 (hence, the title of this Andy’s Corner – “55 Seconds of Radio Chatter“). 


I am sure cell phone and other technological advances have changed communication protocol in our modern army.  I can imagine that instead of 23 pound PRC-25 radios being schlepped around in the field, army personnel are using compact smart phones that weigh no more than 6 ounces (presumably camouflaged).

army cell phoneAnd, I imagine that antiquated military alphabetical references have been replaced by military emojis.

emojis military 1

It makes me kind of happy I am no longer subject to the draft.


  1. Connie L Hieb says:

    Andy, I am so very proud of you and your Service, in this beautiful USA! I am also proud to say that I knew you back in our high school days, especially 1961! Connie (Armstrong) Hieb ❤


  2. Deb says:

    Wow…this is amazing on so many levels. The war. The technology at that time and thinking of how much it has evolved. The draft and imagining being drafted or having someone close drafted…and then overlaying all of that your sense of humor Andy!!!!! So well done.


  3. sara deseran says:

    Laughing over here in SF. Still can’t believe you were in the army! I would have boxed my boys up and mailed them to Canada — ethics, morals and patriotism out the window. Terrifying for a mother. And the sons I imagine.


    • theRaggedys says:

      Canada did cross our minds when the draft notice arrived. But then I never would have become fluent in the military alphabet. So was it bad to be drafted? Maybe yes, maybe no (as some wise person once suggested).


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