The phonetic alphabet is just something you need to know. Sure, you can make up new terms of the fly. M as in Mary, I is in igloo. The problem is, you often use words that could be confused for other letters. (Was that “Mary” or “Hairy” or “Barry”?) Furthermore, using the correct words just makes you look so much better. But its true, especially in the middle of a night shift, the NATO phonetic alphabet can be a little hard to remember. So here is a cheat sheet:
Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.