Saturday, October 31, 2015

Roger, Wilco

The "R" that Roger is substituting for stands for received, indicating that a radio message has been received and understood. The use of radio-alphabet terms to stand for other words is common in the military; roger is a well-known example, and another example is Charlie referring to Viet Cong troops, which comes from Victor Charlie, a radio-alphabet spelling of VC for Viet Cong. "Wilco" is not from a radio alphabet; it's a military abbreviation for will comply, indicating that a message that has been received will be complied with. It's necessary to acknowledge receipt of a message with Roger before indicating compliance with wilco, hence the frequent combination Roger, wilco.
Both Roger in this sense and wilco appear for the first time during World War II