# How to tell military time

Sep 5, 2023

Military time. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by 2nd Lt. David J. Murphy)

### SUMMARY

Learning to tell military time seems a little daunting, but with our easy guide you’ll be speaking fluent military time, well, in no time!

Learning to tell military time seems a little daunting, but with our easy guide you'll be speaking fluent military time, well, in no time!

## What is military time?

First things first: Military time is based on a 24-hour clock instead of a 12-hour clock that magically switches from AM to PM at noon. Military time starts with 0000 (midnight) and ends at 2359 (11:59 PM). That's right, it's just one long digit - like an acronym, but with numbers.

The reason the military does this is to prevent any and all types of confusion on the battlefield. Storming the beach at 10:00 has no room for interpretation of AM or PM if it's in military time.

So, how do you tell military time? The easiest way to remember it is a little bit of basic math. Before 10:00 am (the first "double digit" time of the day), you simply add a zero to the beginning of the number. Three in the morning? 0300. Six AM wake up? 0600. Doctor's appointment at nine-thirty? 0930. You get it!

Then, 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM (noon) all get to be left alone. 1000 hours = 10:00. 1100 hours = 11:00. 1200 hours, yep, 12:00.

Now, here's where it gets a little more complicated: after 12:59 PM, instead of the clock striking 1:00 again (falling victim to the 12-hour clock!), we're going into 24-hour mode. Which means after 12 comes the number 13. So, 1:00 in the afternoon is actually 1300 in military time. The easiest way to remember this is to add the number 12 to the PM hour digit. For example, for 1:00, we'd add 12 to the number 1 (hour digit): 12 + 1 = 13, therefore, it's 1300 hours. For 5:00 pm, we'd add 12 to 5, so 17, thus 1700 hours. Here's a handy guide just in case you need a little extra help:

After all of that you might need a drink. As they say... it's 1700 somewhere.

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