What Does Military Radio Chatter Actually Sound like?

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What does military radio chatter actually sound like? How does it differ between branches?

Typically this is not used in the Army. Whatever your unit call sign is, there’s a whole host of numerical designators that can tell you exactly who you’re talking to. For instance. “Bulldog 26, this is Pegasus 5″ Bulldog is most likely a company name (though not always) and 2 is the platoon number 6 being the platoon leader. 5 is usually the XO, so the XO of Pegasus is trying to call 2nd platoon leader of Bulldog company. Where things get a little weird is when you start going up to division and corps level. The numerical meanings tend to have different uses for that level. That’s the Army ground callsigns. You’d have to talk to the Air Force, and Navy if there’s any rhyme or reason to their radio callsigns. Where you’d most likely hear “actual” is when you’re talking about the Navy. Say the USS San Diego’s call sign is Padre (because LA STOLE OUR FOOTBALL TEAM!). There might be a ton of things “Padre” might be called for, and typically calling “Padre” is enough for anybody to know you’re talking about a specific ship operating in a specific area. When someone jumps on the net and says “this is Padre actual,” what t’re saying is that this is the CO of the USS San Diego on the radio now. As in you’re actually talking to the guy in charge of this ship. I’m not sure where that started, but I have never heard anyone say t were anything actual. Typically there’s no reason for the CO of a boat to get on the radio, t can just have the messages relayed to them either on the bridge or the CIC. Honestly I think that’s just Hollywood trying to heighten the tension of given scenes.

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That is just ancient school, and it gets really frustrating. What the hell is that “A” anyway? Why can't they just call a ship in like “Hey Captain A, how are you doing?”, like they’ll actually know the names (and not just random names like “A” or “B”) of the ships they're actually talking about? I would definitely be against it as long as I could know it's a real ship. It'd be a good thing to have some sort of radio in a submarine, though. It can be hard to stay quiet through the whole radio communication. I’ve heard a call sign called “Horse”—what in the hell is that supposed to be? Is the actual call sign “Horse”? Or are they talking about the boat? There are many names for submarines, and I haven't heard another one called anything but “AQUARIUM” or.