Linda Maye Adams

The origins of “Roger Wilco”

In every film with military aircraft–particularly from the 1960s and earlier–I’ve heard the pilots say “Roger Wilco.”  I never knew what it meant, but it lies in the military phonetic alphabet.

Because so much of military communication is over a radio, and often one where it’s hard to hear, it’s easy to mix up letters.  So each letter has a word associated with it that can’t be misheard.  R was always Romeo to me, but it turned out another word was universally used until 1957.  You can read about it here.


  1. Thanks. I’ve heard them but never really understood them. And remember: Over means over to you and Out means I’m outta here. You don’t say them at the same time!


    • I never understood what Roger Wilco meant either, so it was interesting reading.


  2. That was fascinating! Thanks for posting it, Linda. 😃


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