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How Does the Military Write the Date? [A Detailed Answer]

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

how does the military write the date

Military correspondence and documents must display the date in a specific order and format. Hence, if you regularly contact people from the military, you should know how to write the date in the military. This is a good idea regardless of whether your communication is for personal or professional purposes. So, let’s cut to the chase and answer, “How does the military write the date?” We will provide you with detailed information and a few examples. Read on!


Writing the Date in the Military


As we have mentioned above, it is a good idea to know how the military writes the date so that you can use the right format in military correspondence and documents. It is not as difficult as you might assume — surely not rocket science! The proper format for the military date is this:

(1) The Day

(2) The Month

(3) The Year

The characters requirements for the day, month, and year for the date are as follows:

  • Day = 2 characters (numbers)
  • Month = 3 characters (letters)
  • Year = 2 characters (numbers)

Meaning, DD MMM YY.

Note: Follow the order and do not include commas.

Therefore, the military date format for today (as of writing this) is 13 FEB 22. Here is a tool that you can use to check the date in a specific format each day.

Day (DD)

All the days should be expressed in exactly 2 numbers. As such, the first 9 days of each month is accompanied by a 0 in front. Like this:

  • 01 = 1st
  • 02 = 2nd
  • 03 = 3rd
  • 04 = 4th
  • 05 = 5th
  • 06 = 6th
  • 06 = 7th
  • 08 = 8th
  • 09 = 9th

Month (MMM)

The months must be written out with letters but limited to only 3. As a result, all the months are abbreviated or shortened except for May.

Simply take the first 3 letters of the name of the month. Like this:

  • JAN = January
  • FEB = February
  • MAR = March
  • APR = April
  • MAY = May
  • JUN = June
  • JUL = JULY
  • AUG = August
  • SEP = September
  • OCT = October
  • DEC = December

Note: You should always write the month with capitalized letters.

Year (YY)

The year in military date format should be kept to 2 numbers, just like the month. Take the last 2 numbers of the year. For example:

  • 18 = 2018
  • 19 = 2019
  • 20 = 2020
  • 21 = 2021
  • 22 = 2022

However, sometimes, you will also find military files and documents that display the year with 4 letters as YYYY. In this case, the year is written out as 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021 / 2022, etc.



Here is a list of examples of U.S special days and holidays written in Army date format. Briefing through these can help you become quickly accustomed to the proper military date format.

  • 01 JAN 21 = New Year’s Day
  • 18 JAN 21 = Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • 15 FEB 21 = President’s Day
  • 04 APR 21 = Easter
  • 31 MAY 21 = Memorial Day
  • 04 JUL 21 = Independence Day
  • 06 SEP 21 = Labor Day
  • 11 NOV 21 = Veterans Day
  • 25 NOV 21 = Thanksgiving
  • 25 DEC 21 = Christmas

This military date format is different from the common civilian date format: MM – DD – YY, which makes use of dashes (-).

Other than this, however, you may come across the DTG system, which is short for Date Time Group. This is a series of characters that expresses the year, month, day of the month, hour of the day, minute of the hour, and time zone.

All military members must know how to use this DTG format.

Note: It is also called the army date format.

Traditionally, DTG is formatted as DDHHMM(Z)MONYY, wherein:

  • “DD” is the day of the month.
  • “HHMM” is the time in 24-hour format and the military time zone.
  • “Z” is the military identifier.
  • “MON” is the month code. (Month code means the first 3 letters of the month)
  • “YY” is the year code. (Year code means the last 2 numbers of the year)

For instance, 6:30 P.M on January 5th, 2013 in Fayetteville NC would be 051830RJAN13.

  • “DD” = 05
  • “HHMM” = 1830
  • “Z” = R (Refer to chart of the military time code letter reference below)
  • “MON” = JAN
  • “YY” = 13

The military time code is Coordinated Universal Time — UTC plus (+) or minus (-) Greenwich Mean Time — GMT, as GMT is considered hour 0.

Note: Greenwich Mean Time is also called Zulu (Z) in military time code reference. It is usually given to operating units in multiple time zones as the standard time zone so everyone is on the same page.

Here is a chart of the military time code letter reference:

UTC – 12         Y                     Fiji

UTC – 11         X                     American Samoa

UTC – 10         W                     Honolulu, HI

UTC – 9           V                     Juneau, AK

UTC – 8           U                     PST, Los Angeles, CA

UTC – 7           T                      MST, Denver, CO

UTC – 6           S                      CST, Dallas, TX

UTC – 5           R                      EST, New York, NY

UTC – 2           Q                     Halifax, Nova Scotia

UTC – 3           P                      Buenos Aires, Argentina

UTC – 2           O                     Godthab, Greenland

UTC – 1           N                     Azores

UTC +- 0         Z                      Zulu

UTC + 1           A                     France

UTC + 2           B                      Athens, Greece

UTC + 3           C                      Arab Standard Time

  • This includes Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar

UTC + 4           D                     Moscow

  • Also for Russia and Afghanistan (But Afghanistan is actually + 4:30 from UTC)

UTC + 5           E                      Pakistan

  • Also for Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan

UTC + 6           F                      Bangladesh

UTC + 7           G                     Thailand

UTC + 8           H                     Beijing, China

UTC + 9           I                       Tokyo, Australia

UTC + 10         K                     Brisbane, Australia

UTC + 11         L                      Sydney, Australia

UTC + 12         M                     Wellington, New Zealand

The military time format includes 4 digits, no A.M or P.M, and no colon (:). It runs with 24 hours as with the 24 hour time format but is pronounced and displayed differently.

We have a lot of posts about military time, so for more, check them out!

Great! Now you know how to write the date in the proper military DTG format.


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