Jolly Roger

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Jul 31 22:25:37 UTC 2002

> From the Airman's Information Manual, published by the FAA:
> ROGER---"I have received all of your last transmission."  It
> should not be used to answer a question requring a yes or no
> answer.
> WILCO---"I have received your message, understand it, and
> will comply with it."
> Hence "Roger Wilco" is aerial shorthand for two complete
> independent clauses: "I have received your message AND I
> will comply with it."

Military usage is slightly different. "Roger Wilco" should never be used as
a phrase. It is either "roger" or "wilco," never both.

>From FM 24-9, "Radio Operator's Handbook," Dept. of the Army, May 1991:

"ROGER: I have received your last transmission satisfactorily."

"WILCO: I have received your signal, understand it, and will comply. (To be
used only by the addressee. Since the meaning of ROGER is included in that
of WILCO, the two prowords are never used together.)"

The same goes with "over and out." It is either "over" or "out," never both.

> "Roger" is the code word for the letter "R" in the old
> "Able-Baker-Charlie" alphabet used in World War II (and
> still occasionally heard today).  The "Alfa-Bravo-Charlie"
> ICAO alphabet which replaced the older one uses "Romeo"
> for "R", but I've never heard of any pirates flying the
> Jolly Romeo.

Military types refer to it as the NATO alphabet, not ICAO. It's the same
thing, just two different international organizations promulgating it.

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