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How to Convert Military Time to Regular Time

By Edited Feb 13, 2016 1 1

Convert To and From Military Time

Do it With Ease!

As a very tight-knit subculture of like minded individuals, there are few traditions that the United States' military shares with other professions. For both practical and tactical purposes, however, the use of 24-hour military time has become a clear and unambiguous way of noting time across a variety of professions such as nursing and other emergency medical services. In high pace, high tempo, professions where mission requires expedient and clear interpretation of time, you will be sure to find some level of military time application.

Akin to learning a new language from sratch, learning how to convert to military time (from regular standard time) can be just as difficult as converting to regular standard time (from military time). Unfortunately, even those in professions that rely on quick interpretation of military time oftentimes need to carry around a 'cheat sheet' in order to convert to and from it. This InfoBarrel article will provide you with a very simple way to take a military time value and convert it to regular standard time with ease. Rest assured, as you practice this conversion, it will become second nature with repetition in using it.

Understand the Difference

Making Sense of it All

We all know that 24-hour military time is different from regular standard time, but how exactly is it different? A simple way of understanding this difference is simply by understanding that a standard reading will include an additional identifier, such as "A.M" or "P.M", whereas a military reading won't include this additional identifier simply because it is not needed. The flow of hours, in military time, is seemless from ooo0 hours (otherwise known as 2400 hours) to 2400 hours. Unlike this, a regular standard reading simply regurgitates a 1:00-12:00 reading twice throughout any given day, split the time frame in half such that an "A.M" or "P.M" would be necessary.

As mentioned above, occasionally you will see 2400 hours referenced as 0000 hours. Unfortunately, this can oftentimes confuse people who are attempting to grasp military time. Both reading values essentially mean that it is midnight, and the 24-hour cycle is about ready to start over.

Morning Hours

Exactly Unlike

When learning to convert from 24-hour military time to regular standard time, it is important to remember that any time from midnight until noon will be portrayed with the same actual numbers. For example, you will have 1:00 AM would be 0100 hours in military time. As you can see, in converting from a standard reading to a military reading, you would simply drop the colon, add an "AM" or "PM" identifier, and write "hours" after the military version. In military time, all numerical digits are followed by the word "hours", and it is said this way, as well. You pronounce this time as "Zero-one-hundred hours". Of course, a regular standard reading would be said as "1 o'clock AM" or "1 o' clock PM". As you can see, this is exactly where confusion and ambiguity can be had when conveying a time with the way a standard reading would be pronounced.

What if you said to arrive at your house by "1 o' clock" for a party? While it can be assumed, in this particular case, that you 'probably' don't mean "at one o' clock in the morning", there are times where this could actually be confusing. Military time was devised specifically to address that confusion that could occur during the heat of a mission or in an otherwise high-tempo operation. You can see exactly why professions, such as nursing, have adopted 24-hour military time into their profession.

Afternoon and Evening Hours

Different, but Simple

After the morning hours are complete, regular standard time would simply just begin again at 1:00 until 12:00 midnight. Instead of doing this, 24-hour military time will continue on through with an escalating time value. For example, 1:00 o' clock P.M. would now be 1300 hours in a military reading. In this case "1300 hours" would be pronounced as "thirteen hundred hours". As you can see, converting from a military reading to a regular standard time reading would simply require subtracting your time by 12 hours. For example, "1300 hours", when subtracted by "12", would equate to "1 o'clock" regular standard time.

As you progress through the afternoon and evening hours of the day, when you are looking at the military time, you can come to the regular standard time value simply by subtracting the hour by twelve.

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Mar 21, 2011 7:46am
I always used my fingers to "add" to 12 when learning this in school. But glad I did - by the time my son decided he was a military man I was all set for military time. THank you.
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