|Episode List||What the
is ZULU time??
|Navy / Marine Ranks||Missed
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What the HECK is Zulu time???
Whether you're a new fan of JAG, or have been watching since the
very first episode, you've
probably been haunted at one time or another by the mystery of ZULU time. Since season 2,
TPTB have taken to displaying times in the eps as ZULU time...but what the heck is zulu time?
And how can you translate it to regular people time??
Here's a definition from the US Navy, and a handy conversion guide:
Zulu time is that which you
might know as UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), formerly GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Our natural concept of time is
linked to the rotation of the earth and we define the length of the day as the 24 hours it takes the earth to
spin once on its axis.
As time pieces became more
accurate and communication became global, there needed to be a point from
which all other world times were based. Since Great Britain was the world's foremost martime power when
the concept of latitude and longitude came to be, the starting point for designating longitude was the "prime meridian" which is zero degrees and runs through the Royal Greenwich Observatory, in Greenwich, England, just outside London.
As a result, when the concept of time zones was introduced, the "starting" point for calculating the different time zones was/is at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. When it is noon at the observatory, it is five hours earlier (under Standard Time) in Washington, D.C.; six hours earlier in Chicago; seven hours earlier in Denver; and, eight hours earlier in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately the Earth does not
rotate at exactly a constant rate. Due to various scientific reasons and increased
accuracy in measuring the earth's rotation, a new timescale, called Coordinated Universal
Time (UTC), has been adopted and replaces the term GMT. The Navy, as well as civil
aviation, uses the letter "Z" (phonetically Zulu) to refer to the time at the
prime meridian. The U.S. time zones are Eastern ["R", "Romeo]; Central
["S", "Sierra"]; Mountain ["T", "Tango"]; Pacific
["U", "Uniform"]; Alaska ["V", "Victor"], and
Hawaii ["W", "William"*].
* Note: "W", "William" is a direct quote from the Navy Home Page. This is a change, most likely in an attempt to be politically correct. A lot of people still refer to "W" as "Whiskey".
That's a really nice definition...but its so damn wordy!! Here's a reference guide to make things easier:
When you see a time expressed as Zulu time....
One of the most common questions I am asked is "How can I get a tape of an episode of JAG I missed?". Here are several ways to try to get a tape. I can not guarantee that these will bring you the episode that you missed, but they are a good place to stop. As always, remember to be careful whenever getting something online. Legal Point: Remember that it is okay to be charged for the price of a tape and postage for an episode, but it is illegal for someone to charge you for the episode. Good luck!
Another option is to post a request on one of the JAG mailing lists. You can find a list of most of them at The JAGsite Mailing List Links.
Do you ever wonder what they're talking about on JAG when they say "Point Alpha", "Charlie Company" or anything like that? Chances are they are using the Phonetic Alphabet. In the Phonetic Alphabet, every letter matches up with a word, for example "A" is "Alpha". It makes it easier to understand what is being said. Thanks to Jevex, we now have this handy chart below.
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