Terry Brewer’s NATO/ICAO Alphabet Tone (Berlin, Germany)

Last Tuesday I went on a walking tour of Berlin with Terry Brewer, “a long-time British naval intelligence man and official Berlin tour guide to the Allied Forces.” The tours with Terry last a minimum of six hours. I left our group after eight hours (due to long standing dinner plans).

I took the tour to in order to catch my bearings locations-wise and to learn more about German history. I surely did.

During our late afternoon dinner break at a doner kebab shop, not far from the amazing Fassbender & Rausch Chocolatiers and Check Point Charlie, Terry recited the NATO or ICAO Alphabet. I had told him about my work earlier in the day, and so I grabbed my recording device and politely asked if I could record him, offering that both of my parents knew the alphabet, “They both served in the U.S. military during the Korean War,” I said.

“Why would you want to do that?” Terry asked, unamused.

“To turn you into a ringtone,” I said, sheepishly.

Then he ignored my request for the rest of our break, unfortunately.

Since the famous tour guide wouldn’t consent to work with me, I employed the use of iSpeakit to produce Terry Brewer’s NATO Alphabet Ringtone. In this tone, the Macintosh voice Alex recites the famous alphabet. The spelling-out resource was created “so that critical combinations of letters (and numbers) can be pronounced and understood by those who transmit and receive voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of their native language, especially when the safety of navigation or persons is essential.”

This tone is dedicated to all those who know it, and to all those folks who’ve toured Berlin with Terry Brewer!


We started our tour at the Neue Synagoge.

Stolpersteine, or Stumbling Blocks mark the spots where victims of Nazi Regime had lived. They originated by the artist Gunter Demnig and the work is considered to be the world's largest decentralized memorial. In the words of Demnig, "To be albe to read the stone, one must bow before the victims."

Visit the Stolpersteine website to learn more about this memorial project.

Holocaust Memorial by Peter Eisenman

Terry often closes his eyes to recite stories and bits of history.

DDR Ostalgia/souvenirs near Check Point Charlie

"New" East Berlin

Chocolate church at

Sony Center, Potsdamer Platz

Portion of the East Berlin Wall near Potsdamer Platz



Filed under Locally Toned (all posts), Ringtones

2 responses to “Terry Brewer’s NATO/ICAO Alphabet Tone (Berlin, Germany)

  1. Terry Attfield

    You could have asked Terry to repeat the Greek alphabet .. I wonder if he still remembers it?

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