Posted on February 9, 2012


The photographs used in this post came from .

The main means of communication for an Infantry outfit was the AN/PRC-25. It was commonly referred to as the “Prick-25”. It weighed 23.5 lbs and was worn on the back by a special harness. It was capable of pre setting two frequencies so you could communicate within the platoon and the company or higher. In Charlie Troop, we only had one platoon of infantry. The person operating the radio was called a RTO (Radio Telephone Operator”. The squad RTO would only have the platoon frequency and Troop frequency pre set. He would very rarely ever use the Troop frequency. The Platoon RTO would have the platoon frequency and the Troop Frequencies pre set. He would also have the frequencies of any unit we were jointly operating with and possibly the Squadron frequency.  In order for the Platoon leader to communicate with several different frequencies he would stay with one squad. This would allow him to use two pre set frequencies on the squad radio and two more set on the platoon radio.

The PRC-25 came in  three parts. The body comes in two sections. The top part houses the actual radio and the bottom holds the battery. The hand set is separate and must be connected to the radio. In Vietnam the male and female connection had to be cleaned daily. Condensation in this area would cause the hand set to not work. Most of the time the corrosion could be cleaned by using an eraser.

The Army taught a phonetic alphabet: A- Alpha, B-Bravo, C-Charlie, D-Delta, E- Echo, F-Foxtrot, G- Golf, H- Hotel, I- India, J-Juliet, K- Kilo, L- Lima, M-Mike, N- November, O- Oscar, P-Papa, Q- Quebec, R-Romeo, S- Sierra, T-Tango, U-Uniform, V-Victor, W-Whiskey, X-X-ray, Y-Yankee, Z-Zulu. The Army also taught a Numeric pronounciation: 0-zero, 2- too, three-tree, 4- fower, 5-fife, 6-six, 7-seven, 8-ait, 9-niner. These were used when talking on the radio. A Military map is divided into to what are called  “Grids”. Each line from top to bottom was assigned a letter and each line from left to right was assigned a letter. Each grid was a 1,000 meter square. Each 1,000 meters were subdivided into 100 meter sections from left to right and top to bottom.  When calling in a report of enemy activity the RTO would call in the coordinates of (say) WC335993. He would say: Whiskey Charlie tree tree fife niner niner tree. If you saw 3 Vietcong and 5 North Vietnamese Army soldiers, you would call in tree Victor Charlies and fife November Victor Alphas.

Now a days the communications is much different. But in Vietnam this was our way of communicating.

My time as a RTO:  I served as a RTO for my entire tour with Charlie Troop.