Bravo Zulu

by Peter T Yeschenko

May be an image of text that says 'Bravo Zulu'

What does “Bravo Zulu” mean and what’s the origin of that term?!

ANSWER: In the Navy, if you did good work, you may have heard the term “Bravo Zulu,” which means “well done.

The term BRAVO ZULU originated from the Allied Tactical Publication ATP 1, an Allied military maritime tactical signals publication, which in the aggregate is For Official Use Only, and can also be found in Multinational Maritime Tactical Publication 2

Signals are sent as letters and/or numbers, which have meanings by themselves sometimes or in certain combinations.

A single table in ATP 1 is called ‘governing groups,’ that is, the entire signal that follows the governing group is to be performed according to the ‘governor.’ The letter ‘B’ indicates this table, and the second letter, A through Z, gives more specific information.

For example, ‘BA’ might mean ‘You have permission to . . .’ do whatever the rest of the flashing light, flag hoist or radio transmission says.

‘BZ’ happens to be the last item of the governing groups table and it means ‘well done’.”

“Bravo Zulu” is also defined by the Allied Naval Signal Book, an international naval signal code adopted after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created during 1949.

Until then, each Navy in NATO had used its own separate signal code and operational manuals.

World War II experience had shown that it was difficult or impossible for ships of different navies to operate together unless they could communicate readily and the implementation of ACP 175 was designed to remedy this.